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Czech nursery school underpays Romani janitor for years, refuses to compensate her, she is suing

4.6.2020 6:18
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic (PHOTO: pixabay)
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic (PHOTO: pixabay)

The regional daily Karlovarský deník reports that Dana Macková, a Romani community member who works as a janitor, has been paid less than she should have been for years and alleges that she has faced discriminatory treatment at the hands of the school principal. She is therefore suing her employer, 1. Mateřská škola (Nursery School #1), at the District Court in Karlovy Vary.

Macková has worked for more than 30 years at the nursery school as its janitor. She first noticed that she had been assigned the wrong pay grade in 2011.

Several hearings have been held on the issue. At the most recent hearing last month, principal Zdeňka Tichá defended herself.

"I have not breached the Antidiscrimination Act or behaved condescendingly toward my employees." Those were the worlds the principal used to defend herself before the court.

The original reason for the dispute was Macková's claim that she qualifies for a higher pay grade, which the principal rejects. In 2018, at Macková's instigation, an audit was conducted at the nursery school by the District Labor Inspectorate that confirmed 24 cases of the school breaching labor regulations.

Those violations have impacted other employees as well. The inspectorate fined the nursery school CZK 40 000 [EUR 1 500], but the principal has challenged the fine.

"The problem of Mrs Macková being dissatisfied with her pay grade has grown into this trial in which I am facing accusations of discrimination. Nothing about this accords with my actions and behavior, though. I treat all my employees the same way, and I am decidedly not condescending toward them," the principal defended herself to the court.

During previous hearings during the trial, however, several teachers at the nursery school said they fear the principal and prefer to remain silent rather than to address their difficulties at work with her. Ronald Němec, Macková's legal representative, prevoiusly said that his "client has an audio recording in which she is being spoken of [by the principal] as a person who is poor and barely literate. She has lost CZK 53 000 [EUR 2 000] as a consequence of being categorized in the wrong pay grade."

František Kostlán, Deník.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Diskriminace, Karlovy Vary, Roma, Trial



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