I was ordered to do NO work for my company for the past 20 years and was still paid a full wage – but now I’m SUING them

I was ordered to do NO work for my company for the past 20 years and was still paid a full wage – but now I’m SUING them
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A FRENCH woman who was ordered to do no work for her employer is now suing for harassment and discrimination – despite being paid in full for two decades.

Ex-Orange mobile employee Laurence Van Wassenhove is living some peoples dream of getting paid to do nothing, but she says it’s “very hard to bear.”

La Depeche

Laurence Van Wassenhove has done no work for her company for the past 20 years and was still paid a full wage[/caption]

X.Marchand / FTV

Her lawyer Me David Nabet-Martin says she has been discriminated against due to her disabilities[/caption]

Alamy

The horror ordeal has been a nightmare for the Orange company[/caption]

Laurence has been paid her full salary for the past 20 years while doing no work for them, but says she can no longer bear being excluded from work, despite them adapting her role for her disability.

The trained HR assistant suffers from severe health issues, including epilepsy and hemiplegia, a paralysis that only affects one side of the body, meaning she could not go to work.

She is also a mother of two children, one of whom is autistic and says despite being paid her salary, it did not save her from facing eviction notices and struggling to make ends meet.

She was employed as a civil servant by Orange, previously known as France-Télécom, but due to her condition she was offered a secretary position to accommodate her health needs.

After the company was taken over by Orange, Laurence requested a transfer to another region of France in 2002, which is where her two-decade long hellish work issues began.

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Orange conducted an occupational medicine report that confirmed the position was not suitable for her. They put her on standby, then on sick leave, before eventually offering her retirement due to her disability.

However, Orange continued to have her as an employee and paid her full salary while she was not assigned any work to do.

Laurence calls herself “an outcast secretary” and claims that Orange did this to push her to quit her job.

The mother-of-two further alleges that in 2015 after her complaint to the government and High Authority for the Fight against Discrimination, a mediator appointed by Orange was mandated but little was improved.

She says feels herself wasting a way being kept in her home: “Being paid, at home, not working is not a privilege. It’s very hard to bear.”

Laurence’s lawyer, Me David Nabet-Martin, claims she suffers from depression due to her severe and isolating circumstances.

Mr Nabet-Martin says: “work, for a person with a disability, means having a place in society. Recognition. Social connections that are created.”

In a statement to French newspaper La Dépêche, Orange said that it had done everything to ensure Laurence worked in the best conditions possible and claimed to have taken her “personal social situation” into account.

They also say “a return to work in adapted position” was also planned but never happened as Laurence reportedly was regularly on sick leave.

Timeline of Laurence Van Wassenhove’s battle with Orange

LAURENCE Van Wassenhove went through a two-decade long battle with her employee: here’s the timeline

1993: Laurence is employed by France Télécom as a civil servant but offered a secretary position instead to adapt to health conditions

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2000: Orange take over France Télécom

2002: Laurence asks to leave the Paris region of her job to settle down in the provinces

2000: Orange take over France Télécom

2004: Orange conduct an occupational medicine report that confirms the position is not suitable for Laurence. She is put on standby, then on sick leave, before eventually offering her retirement due to her disability

2015: Laurence complains to the government then is referred to the High Authority for the Fight against Discrimination. A mediator is appointed by Orange

2015 to 2023: Laurence says she falls into deep depression from being isolated in her home

2023: Laurence’s lawyer Me David Nabet-Martin serves Orange a notice to give her a suitable position or compensation and receives no reply

2024: She files a complaint for moral harassment and discrimination at work linked to her state of health

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