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Czech employment agency claims Hyundai refuses to hire Roma people

Prague, 15.5.2011 14:32, (ROMEA)

The private television station TV NOVA broadcast a hidden camera recording last Thursday showing discrimination against people of color at an employment agency hiring for a Hyundai car factory in the Czech Republic. František Holub, a Roma man, and his wife Monika, who is not Roma, both sought work at the factory in Nošovice through the A&T Construction employment agency. Holub says the agency has instructions not to hire Roma people.

“The agency first promised us work, everything was agreed, but just before we were about to start, an agency employee called and asked whether my husband is Roma. I said yes, and she apologized and said he shouldn't bother coming to work. I could come, but he couldn't," Monika Holubová told TV NOVA. “I asked what that meant and she told me the agency has instructions directly from Hyundai that they can't take Roma people," Holubová said, adding that the agency's behavior greatly offended her and she did not take the job offered.

Management at the Hyundai factory has sharply distanced itself from the agency employee's statements. Hyundai says Mr Holub worked for them once before and was let go for violations of work discipline. "The claim that we don't hire Roma people is absolute nonsense, Roma people are currently working at the HMMC factory. The HMMC company definitely distances itself from the statement made by the A&T Construction employment agency staff member. Hyundai has never collaborated and is not currently collaborating with that agency," Petr Vaněk, press spokesperson for Hyundai in Nošovice, told TV NOVA.

Monika Holubová visited A&T Construction wearing a hidden camera and obtained footage of an agency employee confirming that the discrimination really occurs. “The Koreans just don't like people with darker skin, they just don't hire them. They told us directly that we are not allowed to hire people with darker skin. As an employment agency we are not allowed to hire Roma people, or rather not just Roma people, but anyone with darker skin, like Turkish people, anyone like that," the agency staff member says on the recording.

“I simply do not understand why the agency staff member would claim such a thing, I categorically reject her statement," Petr Vaněk told TV NOVA. While Vaněk says the company does not collaborate with A&T Construction, the agency's web page does offer jobs at the factory.

František Holub has decided not to take this lying down. “I want to show people what is going on here. I have worked my entire life, I am qualified as a professional welder and crane operator and I've re-qualified for other positions. I want to work, my children are studying, one is at college, I need a job, but because I am a Roma man, I have no right to this work," Holub complained, adding that he will be turning to the relevant authorities.

The Czech Labor Office's Inspection Authority will review Holub's rejection. TV NOVA reports that the fine for such behavior can be as high as CZK 1 million.

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz,, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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