The executives are accused of "moral harassment." Former CEO Didier Lombard and the other executives deny that restructuring efforts they undertook in 2006 led to the suicides. Lombard had tried to eliminate 22,000 jobs and retrain at least 10,000 workers.
"I'll get them out one way or another, through the window or through the door," Lombard was quoted telling senior managers in 2007. Starting in 2008, at least 19 workers killed themselves,12 attempted suicide and eight suffered depression. Guilty verdicts could result in two years in prison and $35,000 in fines.
France Telecom, a multinational telecommunications corporation, became Orange in 2013. "As it has always said, Orange rejects the accusations and will make its case during the public hearing which will be scheduled in the coming months," an Orange spokesman said.