Descoings, Bigorgne, Duhamel clan disbanded over harassment complaint

LE FIGARO INFORMATION – Three women denounce the moral persecution they would suffer in an association associated with the Montaigne Institute. Primary target, Nadia Marik-Descuens, widow of Richard Descoens and former number 2 in Science Po.

This was over five years ago. Three women testifying Figaro would prefer to forget, to bury the experience, but the agony of litigation keeps the thorns in place for several years. Former employees of the association whose president was Olivier Duhamel, vice president Laurent Bighorne and director Nadia Marik-Descoing, they denounce the moral persecution of the latter and suffered for several months, which led to subsequent temporary interruptions in work (ITT) respectively 5, 20 and 30 days. According to our information, a labor tribunal lawsuit and a criminal case are pending, which, according to a civil lawyer, are distinguished by their slowness.

“Teach for France”, as the structure is called, is an emanation of the American band”,Teach for everyone”, which defends liberal theses in education. The association recruits students from the Grandes Ecoles, then trains them before offering them a limited-term study contract. Skillfully complement the social system, not without promoting certain ideological views. Since 2015, Nadia Marik-Descoens has taken over the management of the structure. Passed administrative justice being in the world of communications, she is especially known for the tandem formed with her husband Richard Descoens at the head. of Sciences Po until his death in 2012. A fundraising campaign soon began and the first employees were hired.

The new leader of studies, Beatrice*, a Normale student and passionate about education, arrives with genuine ambition. And, very quickly, he notices the inconsistency of his boss, according to his testimony before Figaro. Nadya Marik-Dekuan would ask the worker:don’t cook anythingfor a conference scheduled at Sciences Po. To finally charge him with violence on D-Day, in a meeting:But you haven’t prepared anything?“, she would have called out, before taking a long time with her work. The person concerned will quietly leave the structure in a few days. “I had experience, I was able to take some distance. But she denigrated and humiliated young people who, for many, were experiencing their first professional experience.“, describes Beatrice, who sees one of them”lose five or ten poundsafter a few months.

She and the other members of the team would report numerous incidents and situations to Laurent Bighorn, but no one would hear them. According to the testimony, the vice president would have knocked out the connection and thereby disarmed the employee who came to complain: “I can talk to Olivier about it. [Duhamel]and discuss it all. But I warn you, Nadia will never forgive you.According to Beatrice, the American parent company would also have been alerted and “minimized” without even reacting.

She could put you on a pedestal before making you a scapegoat.“Remembers Emma, ​​another plaintiff, who was 21 at the time. Without the emotions really dissipating into memories, the young woman recounts her journey. A few months later, she was subjected to the first cruel harassment by the headmistress. “She found new ways to humiliate you. She could come presenting her new luxurious pumps, very proud, and then taunt you in front of everyone: “You won’t be interested, this is a girl’s business. It’s true, I’ve never seen you in a skirt!“. Witness documents we reviewed describe repeated screams. Sophie, the third plaintiff, who arrived in January 2016, held out until September of that year, after which she was arrested by a doctor for almost a year. “It didn’t take me a week to notice any problems‘ she begins, also describing the humiliated collaborators. “I watched helplessly as these tantrums triggered a physical reflex in me: a lump in my stomach and a lump in my throat.“. “At the beginning, she called me “my beauty”, compared me to being better at pushing others, which made me feel uncomfortable“.

Employees ‘more and more physically marked’

Can objective reasons explain the behavior of Nadia Marik-Descuens? To find out, Emma ends up talking about her work, giving it to Sophie at a time when it smells of holiness. The same work, which deserved her insult when she presented it herself, is then considered quite satisfactory. “I thought to myself that maybe I was dumb“Remembers, however, Emma, ​​disoriented, at the beginning admiring the course and career of her boss. Those who resist him, who try to defend their work, only increase his anger: “ When this happened, she almost rejoiced; she was going to be able to crush the man even more”, the young woman analyzes.

Violence peaked at a training seminar for future teachers Teach for France, in the summer of 2016. Intimidation, interrogation in front of a group of young graduates… A verdict printed twice in a document? Minutes of insults in public, always according to testimony. The tension is such that Emma appears”spectacular somatic disorders‘, according to Beatrice: fainting, pain. Employees must constantly upfront expenses (airplane, rent) and be subject to protests from their director when they are reimbursed. Sophie ends up being targeted, sees a strategic document that took months of work, destroyed by her boss, and she didn’t open it.

In the documents that we were able to see, teachers trained at Teach for France testified about the staff: “more and more physically scarredA few weeks later, the three women left, reducing the already small team. An exhausted Emma leaves the team in August. Sophie goes on sick leave in September for ten months. A few days later, Beatrice was fired during a stormy meeting chaired by Olivier Duhamel, however, the association withdrew the CDI proposal, although it had promised.


Did Nadia Marik-Decoins feel untouchable? In association, she knows she has an almost mythical aura, like the couple she formed with Richard Decoince, the adored former director of Sciences Po, where many of the younger employees come from. She does not hesitate to mention her dinners of the Century, mention the visit of such a minister during a training seminar… and also enjoy the closeness of the Institut Montaigne with her fellows Olivier Duhamel, a member of the Steering Committee, and of course Laurent Bighorn.

The one whom Marik-Dekuan calls publicly:Loloalso takes an active part in the development of Teach for France. The small team is on the same street as the Montaigne Institute, and the accounting and various support functions are run by a powerful liberal think tank. In the 2017 activity report, the Institute even cancels a €100,000 debt to Teach For France, which can no longer raise funds.

When, on 29 September 2016, Laure Denervaux, the lawyer for the three applicants, attempted to negotiate a peace agreement, she made sure to remind Olivier Duhamel and Laurent Bighorn that “it seems that on several occasions, according to the information given by my clients, Beatrice tried to warn you of a serious, unacceptable situation seen and experienced in the association (…) of which you are respectively president and vice president“. In a letter dated October 7, they responded by naming the allegations “blurry“, and argue that Beatrice’s complaints are in line with her desire … to replace Nadia Marik-Descuens at the head of the association.”They never did anythingto recognize the reality of the facts, and even more so to morally support the victims, today condemns Laura Denervo, who calls on the former Sciences Po to testify about their leader.

Realizing that nothing would go any further, on January 7, 2017, three women took over the labor tribunal. Other collaborators, however, refused to act, most of them nevertheless agreed to testify. In mid-2018, forensic examinations were finally scheduled, as a result of which Beatrice received 5 days of temporary detention, 20 days for Emma and 30 days for Sophie. Very difficult quantitative assessments in terms of moral persecution. The following is an application to open a criminal case, filed in September 2017. After a long preliminary investigation, it was closed for “underspecified offensein December 2018, and in February 2019 the civil suit was reopened. At the end of the same year, a judicial investigation was launched.

From this point on, the proceedings are connected, spaced apart. On March 2, the defense secured a new suspension of proceedings in the branch tribunal. “We are surprised that this case is not moving forward despite such extensive damage.”, Laure Denervaud simply comments. Teach for France, renamed Le Choix de l’École, continues with a different director. The defense of the association has been contacted and Nadia Marik-Decoin is unwilling to speak.

SEE ALSO – Duhamel case: Jean-Michel Blanquer ‘regrets omert’

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