Senator EELV Esther Benbassa, accused in a Mediapart investigation of moral harassment against her collaborators, was excluded by her group in the Senate, announced this last Tuesday evening. “After hearing the senator and in accordance with their rules of procedure, the senators decided to exclude Esther Benbassa from the parliamentary group as of September 15,” said the Ecologist, Solidarity and Territories group, in a press release.
“Ms. Benbassa did not contradict part of the testimony and she has, to date, not considered it appropriate to file a defamation complaint against these accusations”, he argues to justify his decision. The senators of the group “regret that justice is not seized for facts of such a nature” but “do not question (the) testimonies (of collaborators, editor’s note) and take the full measure of the difficulties that represent often the initiation of legal proceedings ”.
They “reiterate their full support to those who have witnessed great suffering at work”, continue “to work on the prevention of moral and sexual harassment at work”, and carry out “a broader reflection on the subject. with elected officials, employees and unions ”. Esther Benbassa expressed in another press release her “exclusion” from the group, of which she was the vice-president and from which she had withdrawn since early July.
“Sham of internal procedure”
The senator associates this decision with a “sham of internal procedure” and a “summons to respond to anonymous accusations relayed by a press article”. The decision was taken “without transmission of documents for the prosecution or defense, without hearing witnesses or presumed victims, in violation of the provisions of the group’s internal regulations and the principle of the presumption of innocence”, deplores the elected representative of Paris .
Esther Benbassa indicates that she went to the group on September 9 “not to justify myself, since I am not condemned for anything, but to explain myself, and to reiterate my apologies for the blunders and errors”. In its investigation, Mediapart reports the testimonies of eight former collaborators and six former students that the elected representative employed at the Practical School of Higher Studies.
Climate of “terror”
All of them evoke a climate of “terror” established by the senator, made of pressure, blackmail for employment and systematic humiliations, often on the occasion of emails, individual or collective, and of SMS consulted and transcribed in part by Mediapart. As a result of this management, the staff turnover was very high, since more than 18 parliamentary assistants were employed in two terms, Mediapart count.
In a press release “supporting victims of harassment”, the CGT union of parliamentary staff stressed that “the profession, because of its link with politics and power relations, is often too tainted by this type of violence” .