La Poste sentenced for “inexcusable misconduct” in the suicide of a senior executive

After seven years of legal proceedings, Ilma Choffel de Witte and her daughter Saskia were heard by the courts: the Paris Court of Appeal recognized, Friday, November 19, the ” inexcusable mistake ” of La Poste by breach of its legal obligation to protect the health of one of its senior executives, Nicolas Choffel, husband of Choffel, which led him to commit suicide at his home on February 25, 2013, at the age of 51.

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An act that health insurance had already recognized as an accident at work. It’s a very nice victory, emphasizes Sylvie Topaloff, lawyer for Ilma Choffel and her daughter. What I find shocking is that it took all these years of fighting. ” La Poste, says Marc Bellanger, his lawyer, “Takes note of this judgment” and “Will examine in detail the decision and the possibility of appealing to the cassation”. In 2018, the complainants were dismissed by the Paris Court of Appeal. The Court of Cassation quashed the judgment in 2019, referring the parties to the appeal court made up of other magistrates.

In law, inexcusable fault is accepted when it is demonstrated that the employer was or should have been aware of the danger that the working conditions of an employee represented for his physical and / or mental health and that he did not not taken the necessary and sufficient measures to preserve it. It allows an increase in the pension of beneficiaries.

Significantly increased workload

Nicolas Choffel put an end to his days while he was on sick leave for burn-out, after a malaise in the premises of La Poste, on January 30, 2013. During this stop and until his death, he continued to work on multiple files, receiving emails and texts as well as phone calls “Sometimes several times a day”, had noted the labor inspectorate in its investigation following the death of its employee. La Poste, for its part, explained that the purpose of these calls was to inquire about his health.

While Mr. Choffel previously supervised one person, in February 2012, he supervised five

In its judgment, the Court of Appeal unfolds the progress of this senior executive who joined La Poste in 2001 and was highly rated. In 2012, in a context of reorganization of the digital activities and internal media department where Mr. Choffel worked, his workload increased significantly. The phenomenon has accelerated in the last six months, pleaded Mme Choffel and his daughter. While he had previously supervised one person, in February 2012, he supervised five.

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