No work, all pay: Woman sues company for paying her to do nothing for 20 years, says ‘it is very hard to bear’

A disabled French woman files a lawsuit against telecom major Orange for not assigning her any work for 20 years despite giving full pay, citing harassment and discrimination. She says the company is trying to force her to leave without firing her directly.

Oishi Sarkar
Published21 Jun 2024, 08:05 PM IST
A French woman has filed a lawsuit against her employer for failing to give her any work assignments for 20 years, despite offering her full pay. (Representational image)
A French woman has filed a lawsuit against her employer for failing to give her any work assignments for 20 years, despite offering her full pay. (Representational image)

A French woman has filed a lawsuit against her employer for failing to give her any work assignments for 20 years, despite offering her full pay. The disabled woman, Laurence Van Wassenhove, has chosen to sue telecom giant Orange, claiming that she has been the victim of harassment and discrimination because of her health, according to VN Express.

In 1993, Wassenhove was employed by France Telecom prior to Orange acquiring the business. The physical limitations that France Telecom was aware of included her epilepsy and one side of her body being paralysed. She was thus given the opportunity to play a role that fit her.

Prior to her request for a transfer to a different part of France in 2002, Wassenhove worked as a secretary and in human resources. 

However, Orange allegedly declined to modify anything. Rather, she received her entire pay, but she was not given any tasks. According to Wassenhove, this was done in an attempt to force her to leave the company without firing her directly.

Fight against discrimination

While many people would consider it the ideal situation to be paid to do nothing, the French woman claims “it is very hard to bear,” according to The Sun.

She filed a complaint with the authorities in 2015 citing the discrimination. Orange then designated a mediator to settle the dispute. Wassenhove asserts that even after this, her circumstances did not get any better.

David Nabet-Martin, her attorney, asserts that she suffered from depression as a result of her seclusion.

Orange, however, asserted that it had taken all reasonable steps to guarantee that she was working in optimal conditions. The telecom giant said it took her “personal social situation” into account and planned “a return to work in adapted position” policy for Wassenhove, but since she frequently took sick days, it never materialised.

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First Published:21 Jun 2024, 08:05 PM IST
HomeNewsNo work, all pay: Woman sues company for paying her to do nothing for 20 years, says ‘it is very hard to bear’

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