French trial accusing Orange of moral harassment to wrap

PARIS (AP) – A trial in which French mobile phone company Orange, its former CEO Didier Lombard and others have been accused of moral harassment linked to a spate of suicides between 2006 and 2009, ended yesterday.

The company, formerly France Telecom, has been accused of using methods to “destabilise” workers to get rid of 22,000 staff, after it was largely privatised. One method mentioned involved transferring people to a new workplace location.

Subsequently, there were 19 suicides and 12 suicide attempts at the company.

It’s the first time a 2002 moral harassment law has been used against a major company.

The prosecution wants the maximum penalty — one year in prison for Lombard, and the others, who all deny the allegations.

The verdicts are expected later this year.