The Prosecutor's Office investigates criminal harassment at Webhelp of a worker after becoming a mother
The Prosecutor's Office has intervened in the case of Harassment of a Webhelp Payment Services worker after becoming a mother, published by elDiario.es as a result of the recent conviction of the Social Court number 2 of Madrid. The magistrate condemned the company and a boss for the repeated harassment of the employee for more than four years, which resulted in "serious damage" to her mental health. The Public Ministry has opened criminal proceedings to investigate possible crimes in this case of labor mobbing, which would join the labor infractions that have already received a first conviction by the social jurisdiction, which has imposed compensation on the multinational and the boss of 80,000 euros for damages to the employee.
Along with the labor route, still open after the appeals presented by all parties to the sentence, another path is now opening in the criminal field. The jump occurs thanks to the ex officio action of the Public Ministry, which will surely be joined later by the private accusation of the worker, Lucía (fictitious name), they explain from her defense.
The account of what happened in the trial by the Social and the evidence of the treatment of a directive to Lucía (fictitious name) from her first motherhood show an "intentional and repeated behavior of harassment of the victim" by the boss , but also "in an indolent manner by the company, knowing and acquiescing to these attitudes," Judge Amaya Olivas Díaz maintains in condemning Webhelp Payment Services and the directive in question.
Thanks to recordings of the victim and other evidence provided, the proven facts of the sentence reflect a string of insults to the worker and statements such as those that follow. "I have eaten a son, I am not going to eat two", "You're a son of a bitch, you're not going to make me look bad, are you retarded?" and "it is a bad time to have a baby, you are out of the projects, the idea is not to fire you, and after an ERTE they cannot fire you", among others.
In the labor process, the Prosecutor's Office already "reported in the sense of appreciating moral harassment and violation of fundamental rights," the sentence collects. In addition, he took the witness to take the initiative in a criminal procedure, judicial sources explain. The Public Prosecutor's Office gave transfer to the Prosecutor's Office in the criminal field and it is this one that has already opened its investigations into the case.
The Public Ministry has initiated an investigation procedure, in which it has already claimed the information of all the documentation from the Social Court and has had a first statement taken from the victim.
"We were considering filing a criminal proceeding, but the Public Prosecutor's Office beat us to it," explains Milena Barón Lozano, the worker's criminal lawyer. She explains that Lucía received a burofax with the summons to testify at the Madrid Provincial Court, signed by the chief prosecutor, María Pilar Rodríguez Fernández.
"This is unusual", underlines the criminal lawyer about the action of the Prosecutor's Office in a case of workplace mobbing, often very difficult to prove by the victims. Milena Barón warns that in this case the sentence includes facts of "very seriousness". Judge Amaya Olivas Díaz concluded that the harassment of the worker was aimed "at attacking her personal dignity, with the sole purpose of forcing her to leave the company voluntarily."
The criminal investigation "takes time", explains the victim's lawyer, after which the Prosecutor's Office will conclude if it believes that, in addition to the already convicted labor infractions, the facts constitute crimes included in the Penal Code.
The defense of the worker is inclined towards the existence of possible crimes of mistreatment, against the physical integrity of the affected, but they insist that it is necessary to wait until the investigations of the Public Ministry are finished. "We are talking about something very serious, crimes that can have prison sentences," says Milena Barón, who has informed Webhelp Payment Services of the opening of this procedure by the Prosecutor's Office. "They have not answered me. They referred me to a general lawyer, but I have not received a response. Total silence," says the lawyer.
After the conviction, this medium contacted Webhelp Payment Services and company sources confirmed the recourse to the sentence by the multinational and justified that the condemned boss continue in her position. "No decision has yet been made in this regard, because there is no final sentence," company sources responded last Friday. The company also insisted that there was actually "friendship" between the boss and the worker. "A friendship and trust that allowed mutual insults", as they alleged in the trial and the sentence collects.
Five days later, the company has changed the speech. To the inquiries about the criminal investigation by the Prosecutor's Office, in Webhelp Payment Services they no longer clarify if the boss is still in her position, despite the express questions of this medium, and now they affirm that an "internal process" has been opened.
"The sentence is not final yet, but from the company we take this matter very seriously. That is why we have an internal process underway to help us take the appropriate measures. For now we are awaiting the result of the internal investigations and of the result of the appeal", they respond this Wednesday.
In Webhelp they warn that "to date we have not received any official notification, neither from the Court nor from another official body, in relation to a criminal investigation", although they do recognize that the opening of proceedings has been communicated to them by the lawyer of the worker.