“I even received my canteen card”

“I even received my canteen card”
“I even received my canteen card”

“Orange put me in the closet for 20 years”assures Laurence Van Wassenhove to our colleagues at La Dépêche.

Dismissed because of her disability?

Recruited by France Telecom in a secretary position, this disabled employee – she is hemiplegic and epileptic – initially flourished at work. “It was passionate”, she says, thinking about it. Things changed dramatically when Laurence – who lives in Colomiers (Haute-Garonne) – asked to be transferred to be closer to her home.

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The management of Orange – the new name of France Telecom since 1993 – granted her request, but the new working environment was no longer adapted to the secretary’s disability. “I found myself in an open space and on a computer 8 hours a day, impossible, it’s epileptogenic”she explains.

In 2003, occupational medicine will confirm the need to adapt one’s position. It will never be done. For 20 years, the secretary will be put in the closet, paid to stay at home.

“She goes out of her way to work again”

No mission, no contact and not even a professional email address. “But until 2022, I had a pay slip located in the Paris region, I even received my canteen card”, specifies the employee who is now demanding 650,000 euros from Orange for “discrimination and harassment”. How does she justify this amount? During these 20 years of working in the shadows, she believes that her salary and her retirement contributions were reduced. The fact of an employee being voluntarily sidelined – or put “on the shelf” by their management – can be considered as moral harassment and is therefore reprehensible.

“She went out of her way to work again”explains her lawyer – Maître David Nabet-Martin –, who assures that his client has repeatedly offered to telework.

“At Orange, they passed on my file and told me tirelessly that they were treating my case with kindness”laments the single mother whose son is autistic.

“I no longer have any social position, I am nothing, I no longer sleep, I have gained 30 kilos, I am on the verge of losing my housing”adds the fifty-year-old.

Contacted by The Dispatch, Orange management remains discreet on this matter but ensures that it has been following the matter “with great attention for many years”. For perhaps too many years…

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