Odd Molly International AB, Complaint 324

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2018-01-11

The complainant, a security guard, claimed that he was verbally abused on 17 December 2017. He was looking after the loading work while at the same time keeping an eye on several women who came to the gate for job interviews. During this time, another security guard allowed the women to enter and wait inside the gate. According to the complainant, the manager saw this and began to verbally abuse him. The complainant stated that he was upset about the shouting, left duty and asked the agency's rounder if he could work at a different location. After that, the complainant contacted his area manager and requested to allot him duty, but the area manager asked him to talk to the rounder. The complainant attempted several times to reach the rounder but unsuccessfully. As a result, the complainant was denied duty and claimed, in a manner of speaking, that he was dismissed without a formal procedure.

According to the complainant, all security guards of this agency work for 12 hours daily, however, only 8 of these are officially recorded. The complainant furthermore claimed that during audits, factory management asked the security guards to leave for a few hours, so they would not be identified for working continuously. In addition to this, the complainant raised the following points:
1) His salary was agreed as Rs 12,000 per month. However, he received Rs 10,000 per month, for working 12-hour shifts.
2) He and other security guards are rarely granted weekly days off. When they work on their weekly day off, they do not receive any additional payment.
3) Wages are generally transferred to the complainant's bank account on the 10th of each month, but his salary was not credited until 11 January 2018. Indian legislation states that salaries need to be settled before the 7th of each month.

The complainant requested that management reinstates him in his previous position. He asked that, should management refuse to reinstate him, they follow the legal procedures for dismissal and extend him all legal benefits. The complainant claimed that he was employed for one and half month. This would mean he is eligible for a bonus and earned leave payment. Since he worked overtime for 4 hours every day and also worked on weekly days off, he also asked that the company compensates him for overtime at premium rate.

Findings and conclusions

On 11 January 2018, FWF's complaints handler in India received a call from a security guard, who claimed that his contract had been unlawfully terminated, without any mistakes from his part and without following the due process. According to the complainant, on 17 December 2017, he was looking after loading work while keeping an eye on several women who came to the gate for job interviews. In the meantime, another security guard allowed the women workers to enter and wait inside the gate. The manager came and shouted for allowing the candidates inside. The complainant was upset about the shouting so he left the factory and asked his agency (complainant was hired through an agency) to give him a new work location. The agency did not respond to his request and in three months he was given his full and final payment by the agency. Upon investigation, it was found that the said security guard was found sleeping during his duty on several occasion and he came drunk at work occasionally. The complainant did not contest the accusation of the management about him sleeping during duty hours. In the light of this fact and the verification call to the complainant, FWF concluded that the complaint was not grounded. However, the factory would have to work on its system regarding contractual relationships with external agencies/companies. This complaint is closed.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2018-01-12 Investigation

FWF shared the complaint with Odd Molly in January 2018. Odd Molly discussed the complaint with factory's management, who promised to investigate the case with the security agency and provide a report.

On 26 April 2018 Odd Molly sent the factory's response to FWF.

2018-06-22 Investigation

An investigation call was made to the complainant on 22 June to gain further insights and details.

2018-06-29 Conclusion of the investigation

Management confirmed that the complainant was dismissed, but claimed that this was because the worker did not perform well. No additional documentation was provided.

The documents shared by the brand show that the complainant signed a letter confirming that all his dues were settled by his company. One document from the agency stated that the complainant was dismissed from his job, with due notice and settlement amount, because of a lack of discipline.

During the call with the complainant, it was found that he had not received any appointment letter from the agency's office. The payment offer of INR 12,000 per month was a verbal offer. The complainant mentioned that sometime in March, two men went to his house in a drunk state and asked him to sign two documents. He did as he was told and the men left. Except for his outstanding salary, he did not receive any other settlement.

Due to the conflicting views of the parties, FWF could not reach any conclusions on the individual case. The brand is requested to obtain a copy of the settlements made to the complainant (under each entitlement) for more clarity.

However, some of the indications are:
- The agency does not give appointment letters to their workers.
- The supplier seems not to have looked into the working systems of the contracted agency.

2018-06-29 Remediation

FWF recommended the following remediation actions:
- The supplier should ensure that all workers, including those hired through contracted agency, receive an appointment letter.
- Due procedure should be followed before terminating a worker's contract (for all types of workers).
- The factory should establish functional grievance channels for workers.
- It is suggested that the brand improves its due diligence when
their suppliers contract services from other agencies/companies.

2018-11-05 Investigation

The brand representative along with FWF's country representative visited the factory on 29 October 2018. During the discussion, the HR manager showed the email that he had sent to the agency regarding non-performance of the security guard (complainant) on 21 October 2017. In this document, it was clearly stated that the complainant was found sleeping on duty on several occasion and drunk at times. Negligence of duty is a misconduct under the rules of factory hence the security guard was given a verbal warning. The day in question in the complaint (17 December 2017), factory's management did not find the complainant at his duty station hence they asked the agency to change the guard.

2018-11-05 Conclusion of the investigation

It was concluded that the factory/agency took action based on the previous record of the security guard. Negligence of duty and coming to work under influence of alcohol is a severe misconduct under factory's rule and FWF believes that the action taken by the factory is justified.

2018-11-26 Remediation

While the individual complaint is not grounded, FWF recommends the following measures to deal with systemic problems:
- The supplier should ensure that all workers, including those hired through contracted agency, receive an appointment letter
- It is suggested that the brand improves its due diligence when
their suppliers contract services from other agencies/companies.

2018-11-26 Verification

FWF called the complainant to check about the final settlement and he claimed to have received the amount from his agency. According to the complainant, two men from the agency handed over the cheque to him and asked for his signature. The complainant did not contest the accusation of the management about him sleeping during duty hours.
He is currently employed as a security guard in an housing apartment.

2019-01-03 Evaluation of the complaint

The complainant made the case on one day's incident whereas he had a record of being negligent on his duty for being drunk. In the light of this fact and the verification call to the complainant, FWF concluded that the complaint is not grounded. However, the factory would have to work on its system regarding contractual relationships with external agencies/companies.

2019-01-03 Closed

The complaint is not grounded hence it can be considered closed.