Are suicides of French Telecom workers related to workplace bullying?

As a followup to our post earlier this week on the bullying-related suicide of Wisconsin health care worker Jodie Zebell (link below), here is a report from Matthew Saltmarsh of the New York Times on an investigation in France of some 40 suicides of French Telecom employees that may be related to bullying at work:

The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Friday that it was investigating France Télécom over accusations of psychological harassment related to a recent spate of suicides.

…The case appears to be the first of its kind in France to examine such claims against a company and to study its system of management, said Dominique Decèze, an author and journalist who has written about work safety in France and France Télécom in particular.

More than 40 suicides have been reported since the start of 2008 among people who have worked for France Télécom, said the company, which employs about 100,000 people in France.

Connecting the tragic dots

In February we reported that four Australian workers were convicted and fined for their roles in the bullying-related suicide of a 19-year old waitress, Brodie Panlock:

Four workmates of a young waitress who killed herself by jumping off a building have been convicted and fined a total of $335,000 over relentless bullying before her death.

Brodie Rae Constance Panlock, 19, was subjected to the humiliating bullying by workmates at Cafe Vamp in Hawthorn, in Melbourne’s east, before she threw herself from a multi-storey car park in September 2006.

In short, evidence is mounting that in extreme circumstances, severe workplace bullying can lead to suicide.  The phenomenon even has a name — “bullycide” — that connects the behavior with the consequence.  This should serve as further response to those who dismiss workplace bullying as the whinings of disgruntled employees or as personality conflicts that should be sorted out privately.


Link to NYT article

Link to Jodie Zebell post

Link to post about French workplace bullying law

Link to article about the bullying-related suicide of Brodie Panlock

Hat tip to Michelle Smith, California Healthy Workplace Advocates

3 responses

  1. i worked for telecom new ?ealand some years ago and the bullying was very crazy which also almost drove me into suicidal behaviour. the so called management people dont enforce the glamourous thick corporate policy and let me continued to get stressed and hurt for 1.5 years. falsification of records, character assasination, rumour, denial of responsibility, rudeness, lies, incompetency is everywhere.

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