“I saw the train arriving in the morning, I said to myself: one of these four, I jump under it”: an employee recounts five years of harassment in her ex-company

When Catherine * talks about the front, she talks about a happy life with this work as a switchboard operator for a large food group. His job for 30 years has been to answer the phone, receive customers and sort mail, for 1,300 euros per month. It is nicknamed “Sun” for the warmth of its welcome. But that changed in 2008 with the arrival of a new superior.

“Every time he opened his mouth it was to give me extra work”, remembers Catherine, visibly still traumatized. She must first take care of the visas of the executives of the group. “I live passports, I eat passports, I sleep passports and I manage to make passports but I no longer sleep!”, she narrates. Then there are train and car reservations and the management of the company’s car park, which does not prevent reprimands. “For example: ‘the phone rings, where have you been?’ ‘I took the clients back to the basement.’ ‘But during this time, the switchboard is all alone!’ ‘And how do I do? I can’t be down there and be at my post’, “ relates Catherine.

To avoid leaving her post, Catherine doesn’t even dare to drink for fear of having to go to the bathroom. His material conditions are also deteriorating. “My workspace has been cut off. I no longer have access to the windows, I have no heating and I am 2.5 meters from the front door so I am disturbed every five minutes because I ‘open to my colleagues “, she explains.

Some of his colleagues end up receiving the instruction not to speak to him any more, laments Catherine. However, the pressure from his superior does not fade: “Look at so and so! See, do what I tell him!”

“But you compare me to a senior manager. I am a switchboard operator! At that point, I understood.”

Catherine, victim of harassment at work

to franceinfo

But it has already lasted five years. Catherine is losing her hair and is living on antidepressants. “I saw the train arriving in the morning, I said to myself: one of these four, I am jumping under”. Occupational medicine eventually stopped it. The fifty-year-old leaves her region. She now lives on a disability pension. At the end of 2019, the industrial tribunal condemned his company for moral harassment. “I am standing! In bad shape but standing!”, says Catherine, her voice broken. She is now impatiently awaiting the call. His lawyer hopes for more than the 50,000 euros in damages obtained at first instance.

* The first name has been changed

The testimony of a switchboard operator who went from “sun” to hell after 30 years of service, collected by Jérôme Jadot.


If you need help, if you are worried or if you are confronted with the suicide of a member of your entourage, there are anonymous listening services. Line Suicide listen can be contacted 24/7 on 01 45 39 40 00. Other information is also available on the website of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health.

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