Staffing firm used 'fake' jobs to dupe workers
Published on: 23 Jan 2012 12:45 CET
Several employees with Swedish staffing company Uniflex have reported being offered a job assignment that was so far away that they had no choice but to say no, Svergies Radio (SR) reported on Monday.
“I wouldn't have been able to do a thing, nothing at all. I told her I'd have to say no. She said okay, no problem, you've said no to the job,” a Uniflex employee told SR about an exchange with someone at the company about an assignment in Bålsta, located nearly 50 kilometres outside of Stockholm.
When Uniflex employees say no to offers of temporary job assignments, Uniflex then has the right to withhold the base salary normally paid to employees who are in between assignments.
Thus, by saying no to the job in the distant Stockholm suburb, the Uniflex employee ended up missing out on money that staffing firm normally would have paid.
“They called me in the morning. I told them it was outside of Stockholm. He said okay, if you don't want the job, then say no. I didn't know that they'd reduce my salary,” another employee told SR.
Several other Uniflex employees told of similar experiences of being offered assignments at the Bålsta location of packaging company Nefab last autumn which they were unable to accept.
What the employees didn't realize, however, is that the assignments didn't actually exist in the first place.
The ruse was only revealed when a Uniflex employee actually showed up at Nefab, much to the surprise of head of production at the facility.
“I called and talked with his boss at Uniflex and confirmed that he was in fact here, because they clearly didn't think he was there,” Heidi Tapia of Nefab told SR.
At the time, the Uniflex supervisor tried to blame the mistake on the employee who turned up at the Nefab facility.
But after being contacted by the media, Uniflex CEO Jan Bengtsson admitted that his company had offered fictional assignments to employees.
He told SR that the practice was “totally unacceptable” and the person responsible for offering the non-existent assignments has been reassigned and that employees affected by the scam have had their pay restored.
However, when faced with claims that several Uniflex supervisors had offered fake jobs, Bengtsson was at a loss to explain the situation.