Former Vignobles Foncalieu chief faces charges over sexual harassment and rape allegations by ex-employees

  • Friday 4 July 2014

The former president of Les Vignobles Foncalieu, Michel Bataille, is facing potential criminal charges following allegations of sexual harassment and rape by two former employees.

Michel Bataille Foncalieu

Michel Bataille: (Image: www.lindependant.fr)
 
The case, which was first heard in-front of an industrial tribunal last week (25 June) in Carcassone has now taken on criminal proceedings, local public prosector Vincent Auger confirmed to decanter.com.

Auger also verified that Bataille, who resigned from his post at the co-operative cellars two weeks ago, has been accused of sexual harassment and rape by two of his former colleagues.  

One of the employees, who has been on health leave since June 2013, is asking for the termination of her contract and to be awarded damages for the period between 2009 and 2013.

Bataille was arrested last week, but was later released under caution.

He has since been placed under ‘control penale’ with no access to his passport. He is not allowed any contact with his former employers or colleagues or take another job that may result in contact.

When Bataille stepped down last week, after 10 years as president and managing director, Les Vignobles Foncalieu issued a statement saying that he had left for ‘personal reasons’.

Last Thursday (26 June) Michel Servage, one of the founding members of Foncalieu in 1992 and a winemaker in Puichéric, was unanimously voted in as president in Bataille’s place.

Les Vignobles Foncalieu is one of the largest cooperatives in the Languedoc, with its headquarters in Arzens in the Aude. It comprises 1,200 winemakers, 7,000 hectares of vines and several cooperative cellars across the region.

It has a turnover of €57.5 million and sales of 23 million bottles of wine, 75% to export.

The case has now passed to the criminal court in Narbonne where it will return judgment of Bataille, who is also a winemaker in the Hérault department of the Languedoc, on 24 September, 2014.

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