The essentials Two former employees have filed charges against a department head of the Brico Dépôt de Montauban for repeated sexual expressions and gestures. For the young women, the management would have tried to ignore the matter.
“It started with small questions that seemed harmless. What’s my name when I’m single, what I do after work … late, that I deserved “the spanking”. Not to mention the very haunted glances on my bottom, nicknames like “miss”, “my pretty”, hands on hips, lower back …
These inappropriate words and gestures of a sexual nature, Lola, 24, and Marion, 21 *, confess that they suffered for two months between March and April from a colleague from Brico Dépôt in Montauban. One has just been hired as a cashier on a renewable fixed-term contract and the other is on probation as a security guard. The man they are accusing, 47 years old, has been a department head at the company for a year and a half.
Immediate warning of danger
“When leaving work, in the parking lot, during working hours, it was every day and it was difficult,” says Lola, who is often alone with him on Sundays. “Paralyzed,” the young woman doesn’t know how to react. “I felt like I was the only one who went through this,” she continues. But during a conversation with Marion the question “And you, what do you think of Pierrick *?” makes it clear to him that his case is not an isolated one. “We noticed that some of our colleagues were concerned but did not dare to talk about it, especially one who has been on permanent contract for five years and has been through it for a year and a half.”
Lola and Marion therefore decide to inform the management. But they will fall from above: “We were ignored, not taken seriously. You wanted to keep this matter quiet.” They then reach out to union officials who email an “immediate danger alert” to management. “We had to go through that so they could react,” complains Younès Kerra, CGT employee representative. An investigation is initiated after ten days. But here, too, the two employees do not feel supported: “When I spoke to the HR department, I had the impression that I was the culprit, the coward Marion. She asked me if I had not openly. ”CGT officials who say they have been banned from the investigation are not present to support the young women.
Terminated as a precaution
The accused head of department was summoned on June 1 and, as a precaution, dismissed by management. Too little for Lola and Marion, who don’t feel heard enough. “We don’t know if he will be reinstated, under what conditions … Management has clearly downplayed this matter.” In view of the lack of consideration from their point of view, they filed a complaint against Pierrick in mid-May with the Montauban police station for facts that could be equated with sexual harassment.
From a human point of view, this harmful climate was not without consequences for the two employees. “I didn’t experience that time very badly. I didn’t eat anymore, I was very anxious, I cried sometimes in the parking lot, I had anxiety attacks and was therefore on sick leave several times, ”confides Marion, who does not renew her contract within the company, like Lola.
Branch management reacts
“On May 5th, we were alerted by our” sexual harassment and sexist acts “in relation to inappropriate conduct by one of our employees against some of our employees. These allegations were confirmed in three letters on May 7th given the gravity of these allegations and in order to protect them The branch manager expressly returned from his vacation to the employee concerned about his dismissal without notice and the invitation to a meeting beforehand.At the same time, an internal investigation was initiated, the decision of which the company will have to inform the employee concerned about in the coming days. […] The company decided to entrust the investigation to a small commission, including the speaker on “Sexual Harassment and Sexist Acts”. We would like to remind you that Brico Dépôt does not tolerate harassment or discrimination and takes the well-being of all employees in the workplace very seriously. The creation of transfer positions and the implementation of a fast and effective alerting procedure are also a priority for the company, which remains vigilant and alert.
* First names have been changed