• Sweden edition
 
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.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

771
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com