According to the complainant, on 13 December 2017 at 16:30, a factory worker physically assaulted a coworker in the factory toilet for unclear reasons. He/she went to the local hospital and submitted a police report, indicating that he/she had injuries to the head, forehead, lips, ear and cheek. Factory security also interviewed the injured worker, who found this process traumatic.
On 27 December 2017, the complainant called again and reported that the injured worker wanted to submit a letter to factory management but management did not want to receive this letter. The trade union did not want to support the letter either, feeling that this case was not important.
In the letter, the injured worker wrote that he/she felt intimidated and unsafe. On 23 December 2017, a supervisor called him/her to have a discussion in the canteen. However, the supervisor showed up with more people and asked the worker to sign a 'Peace Agreement', which the worker did not want to sign.
The complainant indicated that:
1. HR, not factory security, should handle physical assault cases
2. Management does not have a mechanism in place to handle such an issue.
3. Management has not taken action against the perpetrator
Both workers (alleged victim and perpetrator) are still working on the same production line. According to the complainant, the management did not issue a warning letter to the perpetrator, nor did they offer leave to the complainant.
Findings and conclusions
Overview of the complaint investigation
FWF's local complaints handler and country manager received pictures of the injured worker that showed signs of physical assault corresponding to the allegations in the complaint.
The factory provided the following responses to each of the points indicated by the complainant
1. HR, not factory security, should handle physical assault cases:
It is standard operating procedure (SOP) for security operator to do investigation.
2. Management does not have a mechanism in place to handle such an issue:
The factory has a grievance SOP, and they will enhance training to all employees about the details of those procedures.
3. Management has not taken action against the perpetrator:
During the investigation, the alleged perpetrator was forbidden to enter the workplace, and the perpetrator's contract was terminated on 22 December 2017.
The factory denied that someone from management approached the worker to sign a 'Peace Agreement' as it is not in the SOP.
The complainant confirmed that the perpetrator was dismissed. S/he also clarified that s/he was approached by a number of workers who were friends of the perpetrator (possibly including a member of management) to sign a peace agreement. This proposal did not officially come from management.
03/21/2018 Conclusion of the investigation
FWF concluded that the perpetrator was dismissed on 22 December as a result of the investigation of management.
The SOP used by management, however, made the worker feel unsafe and not supported.
Based on the investigation, FWF proposed the following remediation:
- Factory management must hire an independent/external consultant to do an independent assessment of its SOPs related to the recent complaint cases, in order to assess if improvements need to be made.
- Ensure that all relevant employees are sufficiently trained on the upcoming revised SOPs.
It is recommended to have the corrective action written in an agreed-upon work plan between Haglofs and the factory, with clear deadlines and outputs for each activities.
03/29/2018 Evaluation of the complaint
The complainant indicated to the FWF complaints handler that her current situation at the factory is good and that she feels safe after the perpetrator was dismissed.
As the individual complaint has been solved by the dismissal of the perpetrator, this complaint case is resolved.
At the next verification audit of this factory, FWF will verify whether the necessary remediation steps have been taken by the factory.