Two workers have won their cases against Citibank in Poland. Three people had sued the company – for discrimination of a worker after paternity leave, for mobbing and for sexual harrassment. The court found in favour of the two workers who claimed discrimination and mobbing and awarded them significant compensation. In the case of the discrimination case, the victory is especially significant as there is widespread pressure at work for men not to take paternity leave – a pressure which reinforces patriarchal practices in the society and which penalizes men who might want to share parenting responsibilities.
Citibank has appealed the decision.
A third case, held separately in another city, has been dropped. Unfortunately, issues of sexual violence are not treated very well and it is often an ordeal to see such a case through to the end. However, we hope that even the starting of the case has sent a clear signal to the bank that such practices should never be tolerated.
We remind people also of the repressive response of Citibank towards activists of ZSP and other workers when exposing the situation. The bank tried to start a criminal case against members of the union, who were threatened and questioned by police. We think that the bank would be better off taking definitive measures against harrassment at their workplace; since this success, more workers have contacted us with the intent of suing the bank.
The union congratulates those who took on the corporate giant and stood up for their rights and dignity. The bank used high-priced lawyers who made all sorts of insinuations in court and it took strong nerves to get through the process. ZSP feels that people are often mistreated at work and then further discouraged by many factors to get any reasonable solution to the problem. Many companies react to complaints by further harrassing employees or by trying to put the blame on them. Due to our unfavourable legal realities, few workers are able to get any resolution through the courts. This compounds the feeling of helplessness that many feel when they are faced with harrassment or discrimination at work.
The union is committed to the struggle of all workers against discrimination of whatever sort.
We send another warning to Citibank that they had better take this issue more seriously and stop the harrassment! All people deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity in their workplace!
ZSP Multi-Union Branch, Warsaw