Didier Lombard, the former CEO of France's mobile operator France Telecom, known as Orange SA, as well as six other executives and the company have been ordered to stand trial for allegedly abetting a series of staff suicides, Reuters reported June 16.
According to a court order, they are reportedly accused of engaging in or assisting psychological harassment. In France, the offense of moral harassment carries two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.
The wave of suicides reportedly started in 2008, with more than 30 workers killing themselves within two years. Blamed on work stress, five more staff members took their own lives in 2010.
According to a labor report that same year, inspectors reportedly drew attention to "pathogenic" restructuring methods and impossible performance objectives.
Lombard, who has denied any wrongdoing, stepped down as CEO in 2010. All but two of the accused executives are now retired.