LVMH Champagne staff in harassment case

Several LVMH employees from Champagne houses Krug and Veuve Clicquot have appeared in a Reims court accused of severe bullying and sexual harassment.

Krug

hist_sign-yellowProsecutors representing Reims police have called for prison sentences of six to twelve months as well as hefty fines for the four employees who were in court on Friday March 6, according to French media.

Investigations into the maisons began in December 2013 after a health and safety report revealed complaints from a dozen employees across the two LVMH houses relating to sexual harassment and bullying.

LVMH has declined to comment while the trial goes on.

Three of the four accused are Veuve Clicquot staff, and the other is from Krug. Conflicting reports say that either two, three or all four are members of the French labour union the Confédération Générale du Travail (General Confederation of Labour). Their alleged bullying is linked to their union activity and their attempts to recruit more staff to join the CGT.

The evidence, which consisted of testimonies from over 30 people, included accusations of “humiliating and physically abusing staff” to pressure them into joining strike action, according to reports.

The court also heard that even senior managers were allegedly victims of abuse.

The fourth staff member, of Krug, has already been fired by the company according to AFP, and stands accused of sexually harassing three women. One of the women seeking civil compensation claims that she was also discriminated against when she was first hired by Krug, having to take a temporary contract after executives at the Champagne house were influenced by CGT officials.

A prison sentence and a fine of around €3,000 for the former Krug employee are being called for by prosecutors. The court will deliver its decision on May 29th.

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