An entrepreneur from North Karelia left a colleague subjected to violence and threats at the workplace, and his subordinate was put in an unsafe position. When the subordinate reported the harassment to the Labor Protection Authority, the entrepreneur fired him.
The District Court of North Karelia sentenced the entrepreneur to a fine of 900 euros and a compensation of 3,200 euros to the subordinate for an occupational safety crime, which has now become law.
As per the documents, a woman employed by a catering company faced inappropriate behavior and even violence at her workplace in 2020-2021.
A co-worker, who was the woman’s ex-boyfriend, harassed the woman. The situation was made especially difficult by the fact that the ex-boyfriend is the son of the owner of the company.
According to the woman, the man tore her clothes at work in June 2020 and pushed her sometime later that month. According to the woman, in December 2020, the man threatened her with a knife and a hammer.
The entrepreneur, who is the mother of a colleague who abused his ex-girlfriend, witnessed the incident in December. According to the mother, her son spoke in a loud voice, but she did not think he was threatening. The mother told the court that the knife was in the child’s hand because he was making salad.
From the messages presented to the court as evidence, it appears that the subordinate had already informed the employer for the first time in February 2020 that he did not dare to come to work if the entrepreneur’s son was at work .
The employee measure was finally completed in May 2021. She reported the harassment to the Occupational Health and Safety Authority. The entrepreneur fired him a day later, citing financial and production reasons.
Regional prosecutor Tuomo Laaninen demanded that the entrepreneur be punished for an occupational safety offence. According to Laninen, the woman had neglected to take adequate measures to put an end to the inappropriate behavior directed by her employee at another employee.
In the prosecutor’s opinion, the entrepreneur’s measures, primarily urging the parties not to argue at the workplace and directing them to occupational health care, were not sufficient.
The entrepreneur sought dismissal of the charges.
In the district court’s opinion, the entrepreneur’s account of the December 2020 incident was evasive and somewhat variable. The court found the bullied employee’s story credible because of the supporting communication.
“Based on the evidence, (the entrepreneurs) practically have up-to-date information about the harassment directed at (the woman),” the court said.
According to the court, the entrepreneur had no economic or production grounds to fire the woman.
The court reminds, “It appears from the correspondence that the termination was due to a harassment report.”
The District Court of North Karelia sentenced a 57-year-old entrepreneur to a 30-day fine for a business safety offense, which means a 900 euro fine on his income.
The court ordered the entrepreneur to pay the dismissed employee 600 euros for pain and suffering and temporary inconvenience, 800 euros for suffering and 1,809 euros for court costs.
The entrepreneur appealed against the decision to the Court of Appeal of Eastern Finland, but has now withdrawn the appeal, so the district court’s decision remains to be followed.
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