• 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
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
House keys: Shutterstock.

On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends

Finding somewhere to live when you move to Sweden is a challenge. With changes afoot The Local caught up with an expert from letting agency Residensportalen to find out in what direction the market is going, and how Google Glasses may just help you find your dream home. READ () »

The Local List
Ten most disgusting Swedish foods
Salty liquorice, anyone? Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Ten most disgusting Swedish foods

Swedish food is, of course, a matter of taste. But it's mostly disgusting. Our loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook shared what they thought were the worst of them all. READ () »

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'
Defence Minister Karin Enström. File photo: TT

Sweden wants cruise missiles 'for defence'

The Swedish government has announced plans to beef up its defence forces by fitting its fleet of Gripen fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles. READ () »

Swede of the Week
Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'
Swedes vote in the 2010 elections. File photo: Dan Hansson/TT

Sweden's oldest would-be MP: 'They promised I wouldn't get in'

Gösta Arvedson, 89, is the oldest Riksdag candidate in Sweden, but our Swede of the Week explains that the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) had to make some unusual promises for him to put his name forward. READ () »

Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
On the move: Sweden's shifting mobility trends
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Advertisement:
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
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 »

718
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