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Zoo staff called Polish employee 'monkey'

Zoo staff called Polish employee 'monkey'

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

A Polish man has sued his former employers at the Öland Djurpark zoo over discrimination and harassment.

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.

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.

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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..
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