Vaude Sport GmbH & Co. KG, Complaint 763

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Safe and healthy working conditions
STATUS
Resolved
DATE
2019-08-09

The complainant reported that the supervisor uses bad language to communicate with workers. The complainant was not the one who experienced verbal harassment. He/she was one of the witnesses of the inappropriate behaviour of the supervisor. The way he/she talked to workers made them feel stressed and insulted. Since the section of this supervisor was next to the complainant’s workstation, the worker could hear and witness the constant verbal harassment and how it made his/her colleagues feel.

When some workers were behind the production target, the supervisor cursed at everyone, often using offensive words towards their parents. He/she used terms of private parts and sexual content to curse workers. Many workers cried. Furthermore, when they had urgent production, he/she scolded workers who took a nap during the lunch break, using offensive words. Also, when workers did not work overtime, he/she scolded everyone at the meeting using offensive words.

The complainant decided to speak on behalf of his/her colleagues. Although the factory had internal grievance channels, the complainant mentioned that he/she was not confident in them so, he/she decided to call FWF anonymously.

Findings and conclusions

On 9 August 2019, FWF’s complaints handler in Myanmar received a complaint from a factory worker, who reported that a supervisor used inappropriate language to communicate with workers.

The complainant was not the one who experienced verbal harassment. He/she was one of the witnesses of the inappropriate behaviour of the supervisor. The way he/she talked to workers made them feel stressed and insulted. Since the section of this supervisor was next to the complainant’s workstation, the worker could hear and witness the constant verbal harassment and how it made his/her colleagues feel.

When some workers were behind the production target, the supervisor cursed at everyone, often using offensive words towards their parents. He/she used terms of private parts and sexual content to curse workers. Many workers cried. Furthermore, when they had urgent production, he/she scolded workers who took a nap during the lunch break, using offensive words. Also, when workers did not work overtime, he/she scolded everyone at the meeting using offensive words.

The complainant decided to speak on behalf of his/her colleagues. Although the factory had internal grievance channels, the complainant mentioned that he/she was not confident in them so, he/she decided to call FWF anonymously.

FWF declared this complaint admissible and informed Vaude, the FWF member sourcing at this factory. Before reaching out to the factory, Vaude wanted to understand more about why the complainant could not use the internal grievance channels in the factory. After a Skype call was made between FWF and Vaude, the brand proceeded to discuss the case with the factory management.

The management held a meeting with supervisors about verbal harassment. The brand also informed FWF that the factory was currently taking part in the SMART Myanmar Social Dialogue Program. The brand indicated that it would follow up on these trainings to make sure that their would be a substantial improvement of internal dialogue and grievance structure.

The FWF complaint handler checked with the complainant after the reply from the factory. However, the complainant reported that the supervisor had slowed down his/her pace a bit but had not changed.

The brand again reached out to the factory. The factory posted an anti-harassment and abuse policy and the list of contact persons to contact in case of harassment and abuse.

However, the complainant stated that the supervisor’s behaviour had not changed and the use of inappropriate language continued. The complainant thought that the supervisor was not aware of the complaint made against him/her.

The complainant was advised to use the internal grievance channels, the suggestion box, when the supervisor behaved aggressively again and see how the management would take action.

In the last follow up with the complainant, it was learnt that he/she had not sent any suggestion letter since the factory was on the low season and the supervisor had not behaved inappropriately under less production pressure. The complainant mentioned that he/she would be watching the supervisor closely and write to the suggestion box if he/she behaved harshly again.

This complaint is resolved.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2019-08-15 Remediation

The brand communicated to the factory that verbal harassment is not acceptable at all and that they advise their supervisor to adhere to company policies. The factory held an internal meeting to raise this issue and obligate their staff to refrain from verbal harassment.

The brand also informed FWF that the factory was currently taking part in the SMART Myanmar Social Dialogue Program. The brand indicated that it will follow up on these trainings to make sure that their will a substantial improvement of internal dialogue and grievance structure.

2019-08-28 Verification

The complainant stated that nothing has changed much although the supervisor seems to slow down her scolding pace. The complainant pointed out that the factory did not make any announcement on the corrective actions or statement against such behaviors like they used to do before so, she does not know whether it has been taken action. She also highlighted that everyone in the factory should be informed that any type of harassment is unacceptable and how it will be taken action in case of occurrence.

2019-09-11 Verification

The brand sent the announcement from the factory about internal grievance mechanism to FWF. The factory posted anti harassment and abuse policy and the list of contact persons to contact in case of harassment and abuse.

2019-09-12 Verification

The complainant stated that the supervisor’s behaviors have not changed and the use of bad language continues. The complainant thinks that the supervisor is not aware of the complaint made against her.

2019-09-23 Remediation

FWF and the brand agreed to suggest the complainant to use the internal grievance channels, the suggestion box, when the supervisor behaved aggressively again and see how the management would take action.

2019-10-25 Evaluation of the complaint

When the complaint handler called the complainant to check on the current situation, the complainant informed that she had not sent any suggestion letter since they experiencing low season at present and has less production pressure, and the supervisor concerned did not behave badly since. The complainant mentioned that she would be watching the supervisor closely and write to the suggestion box if she behaved harshly again.

2019-10-26 Resolved

The complaint is considered resolved herewith.