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On 25 November, FWF’s received a complaint from a factory worker from Romania, who claimed that he/she had been unfairly dismissed without going through proper disciplinary procedure or investigation.
According to the complainant, the factory management decision for the dismissal was related to mistakes in the production line. The complainant took responsibility for the mistake and timely reported to his/her direct supervisor, but the information was not processed further. Although the complainant recognises his/her for the mistake, he/she believes to have been unfairly accused and fully blamed as sole responsible for the defected products while he/she did report. According to the complainant, there was no disciplinary procedure undertaken, but the next day (Friday 22 November) the complainant was invited to the meeting and forced to sign his/her resignation, so the factory would be legally covered. On Monday 25 November, the complainant received an email informing that he/she no longer worked for the factory. The factory management revoked the dismissal and decided to open the disciplinary process after the complainant sent an email to the factory management referring to a legal article on unfair dismissal. Going through psychological harassment by the factory management, this situation was extremely stressful for the complainant and jeopardised his/her health as at the moment the complainant is on sick leave due to the high blood pressure and stress. The complainant is not in a position to attend the first meeting of the disciplinary process.
FWF informed the brand and requested feedback from the factory. The factory response confirmed that there was a dismissal for the mistake in the production and that the disciplinary process is in progress. However, they also informed him/her that the finality of it will be closing the contract due to the gravity of his/her actions.
Further steps on the investigation will be planned by FWF in the next period.
Apart from the investigation of the brand, the Fair Wear complaints handler had an off-site interview with the complainant on 4 February 2020.
In the offsite interview, it became clear that the complainant decided not to return to the factory as an employee. The complainant's contract of the complainant was terminated and he/she received all the payments required by the law in a case such as this. The dismissal process was documented as the complainant still expects a detailed report on how factory management had investigated the production error and how they made the decision of dismissal.
As the complainant decided not to return to the factory to work and to drop the complaint, this complaint has been closed.
Nevertheless, Fair Wear sees this complaint as reason for the member brand to flag worker satisfaction in the factory. Fair Wear recommends that the brand follows up on the lessons learnt in this case and to take preventative measures against similar issues arising in the future. The brand should also work together with the factory on improving the capacity of worker representatives, and facilitate any changes that are necessary to ensure that the worker representatives play an active role in addressing worker grievances.