Hess Natur-Textilien GmbH, Complaint 106

Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship

After two months of sick leave due to an operation because of a slipped disk at back, plaintiff started to work again in the accused factory in May 2014. Plaintiff claims that after this sick leave management’s attitude towards him was change and management was looking for a reason to be able to terminate his employment contract. On 2nd July 2014, plaintiff had an argument with one of his fellow colleagues and his supervisor because of his health condition, which resulted in dismissal of plaintiff.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2014-07-11 Investigation

On 11th July 2014, Hess Natur, the FWF member brand sourcing in the accused factory asked explanation from the accused factory. The factory management confirmed the argument mentioned by plaintiff and claimed that they tried to settle down the argument, but the plaintiff was not open for a settlement and left the factory at the same day and did not come back for work again. Factory management sent an official letter to plaintiff for calling him back to work but could not get a response from the plaintiff.
FWF decided to implement an audit in the factory for further investigation of the case and also the general working conditions in the factory. The FWF audit was conducted on 11-12 September 2014.

2014-07-21 Conclusion of the investigation

The audit findings on the unfair dismissal show a complicated situation. There were two discipline warnings in plaintiff’s personal file both for arguing with other workers, one of which was given for the case raised by plaintiff. According to the interview with management, the plaintiff did not sign the warning, left the factory and two days later sent an official warning to factory indicating that he was forced to resign and later dismissed verbally by the factory management. The employment contract of worker was terminated on 21st July 2014 – 19 days after he contacted FWF because of unfair dismissal claims.

On 21st and 25th of July, there had been two investigations by the labour inspectorate about the complaint; however those are for setting the case rather than making a conclusion about it.

Plaintiff’s claims could not be verified through the document check of the FWF audit. On the other hand, auditors had the impression that factory does not prefer to terminate employment contracts with seniority and advance notice pay. Workers interviewed during the audit also mentioned that factory does not dismiss workers but make them feel uncomfortable and terminate their own employment contracts (in order not to pay for the seniority and advance notice).

2014-09-12 Remediation

The factory should be in compliance with FWF CoLP and pay compensation for dismissal (seniority payment+notice period compensation).
As a supportive action, FWF’s workplace education programme, which covers 8 labour standards and internal communication, should be implemented in the factory by FWF trainers.

2015-08-02 Closed

A training was done (not WEP) and intensive dialogue took place between brand and factory. This complaint is considered closed.