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Stress Kills 

As we know that stress in any kind is not a good thing for our health & well being. Stress can be two types physical or mental stress. At France Telecom this connection became tremendously horrible, painful & tragically. About an estimate of over 40 employees who had worked in the company committed suicide. This happened during the yearly 2008. This is the worst thing that can happen to a company anyway. Such an incident was eye catched by many media throughout the world & the French government, because such situation is quiet uncertain and tragic, not only that it was found out that most of the employees who committed suicides and attempted to suicide did this because of extreme work pressure.

We all know that France already have a high suicide history than any other company in the world. This was so much that Paris prosecutor’s department opened an investigation case on the company with accusations of the psychological harassments with the employees. This judicial case continued for years. The complaint has accused the management for conducting pathogenic restructuring. The results of the investigation was published in French media, though nit public. What the result said was really shocking. The company the year 2006 to 2008 had applied various modes of psychological pressures on the employees to fire 22000 employees at once.

Though the company doctors have alerted the company about the possible circumstances that can happen, which is enough to destroy the whole company, but it still kept on this misconduct. Employees have been complaining that they were pushed to work beyond their capability and this suicide rate created a chaos within the French society. Though there was Labour Protection Act, the employees were trapped in the company’s torture. Then a lawyer of the company openly denied that the company did repeated efforts to remove its employees.

After the incident the chief executives became aware that drastic measures were needed to be taken to overcome such an issue. The first change that they made was assigning a new CEO to the company. Stephen Richard openly declared that his main objective is to rebuild the work ambience within the organization so that employees can come out of the trauma and feel relieved. The company has set up many psychological counselling sessions for the traumatized employees so as to take them out of what actually happened to them. It also started workplace practices which would let the employees work in a relaxed manner and they also work from home. A spokesman of the company has said that the organization has completed 2 of the 6 agreements with union that covers a wide variety of workplace issue such as work life balance, mobility & stress.

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe your reaction on what happened to the employees of the company? What are the factors which made this horrible situation happen within the company? Describe both the internal & external factors that lead to this destruction.
  2. What appeared happening in the company’s workplace? Describe the stress symptoms which have alerted the managers about the upcoming problem.
  3. Are mangers being free so as to take decisions directly for the welfare of the company without thinking about the employee’s reactions? Also discuss the implications of managing changes.
  4. What does the chief executives of the company did to overcome the situation that happened? Is this enough to deal with the problem? What according to you are other actions which they could have taken? Describe the actions if you find out any. If you think not then why?
  5. What lessons from such a situation can other companies & managers learn?