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Disabled French Woman Laurence Van Wassenhove Sues Company for Paying Salary Without Work for 20 Years

Laurence Van Wassenhove, a disabled woman from France, has recently dominated the media headlines.

Laurence sued telecom giant Orange, her employer. The reason behind the lawsuit was that she was paid a full salary for 20 years with no work assigned to her, reported The ET.

Laurence has been living with paralysis. One side of her body is paralyzed, and she has epilepsy as well.

What Happened?

In 1993, Van Wassenhove was hired by France Telecom, renamed “Orange” later. France Telecom was aware of Van Wassenhove’s physical abilities, so a role was assigned to her that suited her situation.

Until 2002, Van Wassenhove worked in the human resources department as a secretary. She got transferred to a new workplace in France upon her request to transfer to another region.

However, she felt that the new workplace was not suitable enough for her physical limitations. When she approached the firm, Orange reportedly refused.

The company didn’t cater to her needs but rather paid her a full salary with no work assigned. Van Wassenhove claimed that it was the company’s strategy to throw her out of the job without firing her straight away.

According to The Sun, Van Wassenhove added, “Although being paid to do no work might seem ideal to some, Van Wassenhove describes it as very hard to bear.”

Van Wassenhove complained to the High Authority for the Fight against Discrimination and the government in 2015. However, a mediator was appointed by Orange to resolve the situation.

However, Van Wassenhove’s circumstances and situation didn’t get better despite the intervention.

Van Wassenhove Went Into Depression

David Nabet-Martin, Van Wassenhove’s lawyer, says that Van went into depression because of being in prolonged isolation, at home with no work from the company.

Contrastingly, Orange argues that it is considered her social and personal situation. Thus, it also made a significant amount of effort to make sure she could work in a friendly environment.

Orange also claims that previously a “return-to-work policy” was planned in an adapted position for Van Wassenhove. However, it never worked as Van Wassenhove took sick leaves frequently.

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Subhashree Panda

Subhashree Panda: A proficient content writer, editor, and researcher. With 4 years of experience and an MBA in finance, she crafts compelling narratives on global events. Her passion for diverse journalism genres resonates widely, fostering broad audience connections.

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