• Sweden's news in English

Zoo staff called Polish employee 'monkey'

The Local · 13 Jan 2013, 13:16

Published: 13 Jan 2013 13:16 GMT+01:00

The 26-year-old man, Marcin Wilk, claims that Polish and Bulgarian employees at the zoo in eastern Sweden were treated badly while he worked there in 2011.

The foreign workers had lower wages and worse work conditions than their Swedish colleagues, according to Wilk.

In December 2012, the Kalmar District Court heard tape recordings of zoo managers shouting abuse at Wilk.

"You think you're better than others. Take your things and go to hell. You're behaving like a damn monkey," they said when firing Wilk.

"Poles only have the rights granted to them by Barbro Hägg," Wilk told the Barometern newspaper, referring to the zoo's CEO.

"It's like an old-fashioned feudal system."

Wilk, who has represented himself in the legal proceedings, claimed that he and other Poles worked 10-hour days seven days a week while Swedish employees had a regular 40-hour work week.

While Swedes were paid 14,000 kronor ($2,160) per month, the Polish workers got 6,800 kronor plus room and board.

"I was discriminated against on the basis of my nationality. But everyone who works with discrimination issues knows that it is hard to prove. Discrimination is hidden," said Wilk.

At the time of his dismissal, Wilk had failed to show up to a meeting about security at the zoo, but claimed he had not been told about the meeting.

He secretly recorded a shouting match in which a man yelled at him, accused him of having a superior attitude and called him a "monkey".

Wilk was asked several times to take his belongings and leave. He was also warned that he would not receive his last wages if he refused to sign his termination notice.

Swear words and condescending language could be heard in the taped conversation, according to the paper.

Story continues below…

Wilk is asking for 1 million kronor in damages.

The zoo has denied the allegations but the LO union confederation said it is not unusual for foreigners to have worse work conditions than Swedish citizens.

The Kalmar District Court is expected to issue a verdict on Monday.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

14:32 January 13, 2013 by Rishonim
While Swedes were paid 140,000 Swedish kronor per month????? That's a very good salary..... where do i send my application???? :-)
15:30 January 13, 2013 by cupidcub
That's not discrimination, its 'Swecrimination' which is, a Swede, who corrects him/herself three times while writing even a phone number, would get the job over you, doesn't matter even if you are Presidents' gold medalist of your country.

BTW, Good Job Wilks.
17:41 January 13, 2013 by burito
What a disgrace ,there is something wrong with this country(Swedistan).

And again: Marcin-Good Job!!!
18:05 January 13, 2013 by thecritic
dawn, these swedes are so wild and violent, poor poor our nice eastern european friends. I wonder, if they were low pay and abuse, why wait until they got fire then complain now? Why didn't they take it to the union or labor dept then? Or better yet give the boss the finger and move on? Oh, i forgot our eastern neighbors are nice people.
19:34 January 13, 2013 by Coaxen
The attitude of those Swedes, although horrid, is quite understandable. After all, those southerners are physically different (darker skin, eyes, hair), make the Swedes seem lazy by working harder in comparison, and probably didn't have the 20 years required to learn perfect Swedish.
20:24 January 13, 2013 by johan rebel
The man called him a monkey? He obviously doesn't speak Polish (wilk = wolf, a rather apt name for a zoo employee)
07:33 January 14, 2013 by robban70226
The real Sweden exposed again and again...
09:36 January 14, 2013 by JulieLou40
Good on him, that's what I say. Hope he gets a shedload of damages.

Before I came to Sweden, I must say I was concerned about the massive influx of Poles when they joined the EU. I rapidly changed my mind when I saw them put many of my fellow countrymen to shame, with their hard work ethic.

Incidentally, is that picture of the zoo owner from the 1970's???
11:39 January 14, 2013 by darky
This is no news in Sweden.. Not something new. Swedes have always looked low on others. I thought it was only on brown people but now I know Poles are in them list. But these Poles, u guys are noted for accepting low wages all over europe.. Don't blame anyone for that because if u make yaself a banana, monkeys will definitely eat ya to de fullest....
13:21 January 14, 2013 by Strongbow
"Zoo staff called Polish employee 'monkey'"

"-You're behaving like a damn monkey"

I don't see where they called him a monkey. If being called an animal trait is being called an animal, he's half a zoo.
18:31 January 15, 2013 by bezjaj
The Swedes have a secret saying" I Sverige ar alla lika- under svensken" ,..Which translates to " In the fabulous country of Sweden everybody is equal- under the Swede.

But Swedistan will soon be the first county in Europe changing the names of it's capitol: to Stockhobad...Then they will miss the Poles..But we will be more then happy to have them at us..we will need cleaners..
Today's headlines
Refugees beg to leave 'inhuman' Malmö shelter
Buses arrive at Malmömässan to deliver refugees. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Refugees beg to leave 'inhuman' Malmö shelter

16 hours ago

Refugees sheltering in Malmö's 2013 Eurovision venue are begging to leave, with one describing it as a "prison" with "inhuman conditions", while Swedish nurses working there have been pulled out because of the health risks.

Swedish DJ salutes high jumper in inspiring vid
Dick Fosbury performing the flop. Photo: Screen Grab/Youtube

Swedish DJ salutes high jumper in inspiring vid

17 hours ago

The video for Swedish DJ Avicii's ‘Broken Arrows’ single tells the story of 1960s high jumper Dick Fosbury, whose “Fosbury Flop” technique revolutionised the sport and brought its inventor Olympic gold.

Southern Sweden braced for mighty Storm Gorm
A woman watches Storm Egon from Malmö's Västra Hamnen district. Photo: Jonas Nilssen/TT

Southern Sweden braced for mighty Storm Gorm

19 hours ago

Southern Sweden was braced for a battering on Sunday night, as Storm Gorm, which forecasters predict could reach hurricane strength, rampaged its way across Denmark.

Hijab mural painted over with hair at Swedish mall
The centre's management insisted that hair (right) was painted over the hijab (left). Photo: Pia Jönsson/Facebook

Hijab mural painted over with hair at Swedish mall

1 day ago

A shopping centre in Sweden forced a youth group it had commissioned to paint a mural to cover up a hijab they had put on a woman by concealing it under a haircut.

Accent with bizarre 'yes' is 'sexiest in Sweden'
Just breathe in if you mean yes. Photo: Mötesplatsen.se

Accent with bizarre 'yes' is 'sexiest in Sweden'

1 day ago

Their word for ‘yes’ is limited to a pursing of the lips and a slight intake of breath, but according to a new survey Norrlanders have the sexiest accent in Sweden.

Sweden Democrats eye power after border move
Jimmie Åkesson at the Sweden Democrat's national day in Lund. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Sweden Democrats eye power after border move

1 day ago

The leader of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats on Saturday hailed the Nordic country's dramatic tightening of asylum policy, arguing that it would open the way for his party to join a future right-wing government.

14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace
Swedish police officers patrolling Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace

2 days ago

More than 14,000 foreign nationals told to leave Sweden have instead gone underground, with police saying there is little they can do to enforce deportation orders.

Ahoy! Swede builds giant pirate ship in his garden
This picture of the boat has more than 14,700 likes on Facebook. Photo: Private

Ahoy! Swede builds giant pirate ship in his garden

2 days ago

A Swedish man found Facebook fame after pictures of a giant pirate ship he built for his children when he was on sick leave from work went viral on Friday.

'She's a forerunner and inspiration for startups'
Niklas Zennström, Jane Walerud and Jessica Stark. Photo: SUP46

'She's a forerunner and inspiration for startups'

2 days ago

A US-born entrepreneur who has helped pave the way for women in tech has joined the ranks of some of Sweden's top innovators and businesspeople in a Swedish startup hall of fame.

Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'
Bredbandsbolaget was not compelled to block the Swedish file-sharing site, Pirate Bay. Vilhelm Stokstad / TT

Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'

2 days ago

In a landmark decision, a Swedish court on Friday ruled that the country's internet service providers cannot be forced to block controversial Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay.

Sponsored Article
11 reasons students pick Stockholm University
POLL: Swedes back new asylum rules
Sponsored Article
Top five UK weekend getaways from Sweden
Five weirdest Christmas attacks on Sweden's famous straw goat
Sponsored Article
After Paris: 'The war is not only against Isis'
Blog updates

25 November

So What Does An Ambassador Do? (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I know that my mum is super proud that I’m an Ambassador. But if you asked..." READ »


20 November

Editor’s blog, November 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, It has been a long and busy week for The Local as we reported on..." READ »

Five myths about Sweden's refugees
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm solved a startup’s housing crisis
How did this missing Swedish cat turn up in southern France?
Sponsored Article
Swedish researchers find Ice Age 'missing link'
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
Sponsored Article
Beaches, bikes, and buds: studying in Malmö
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
People-watching: November 25th
What do Swedes want for Christmas?
GUIDE: How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Sweden must combat extremist 'mirage'
Mystery ice circle in Swedish river
IN PICTURES: New royal winter snaps of Sweden's Princess Estelle
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
Stockholm film festival's top movies
Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: the new epicentre of global leadership
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
‘Food choices in Sweden destroy forests in Asia’
People-watching: November 20th-22nd
Swedish King calls for bathtub ban
Analysis & Opinion
Why you should care about Sweden raising its terror threat level
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Stockholm's best international bars
Is this the best warning sign ever?
Why are more Swedes getting fat?
Sweden's tribute to Paris victims
What is Sweden's sexiest name?
VIDEO: Madonna's emotional tribute to Paris victims at Stockholm gig
Nine of the merriest Swedish Christmas fairs
Sweden cashes in on new kronor banknotes
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: