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Shell flouts discrimination ruling by Dutch Equal Treatment Commission

THIS ARTICLE WAS SENT TO SHELL SOME DAYS AGO GIVING SHELL THE OPPORTUNITY TO POINT OUT ANY INACCURACY AND PROVIDE COMMENT IF IT WISHED TO DO SO. SHELL HAS THUS FAR NOT TAKEN UP THE INVITATION.

By John Donovan

A few months ago Shell was found guilty of discrimination towards an employee by the Dutch Commission for Equal Treatment (the CGB). The decision has ramifications for over 1,100 Royal Dutch Shell employees.

Shell Global Solutions International BV subsequently decided “after careful consideration” to flout the relevant Judgement,  which confirmed discrimination by Shell against the part-time employee in question, regarding compensation relating to public holidays.

The judgement arose from a discrimination case against Shell brought by Mr Alberto Gatti, who works four days per week for Shell, thereby receiving a 20% reduction of monthly salary compared with a full time employee. He brought the case on a point of principle. Namely, fair treatment between employees.

Shell HR argued in email correspondence, which dragged out over several months, that it was a matter of “bad luck” and “all in the game“, when a Dutch public holiday coincided with the only week day on which Mr Gatti does not work – Monday in his case. This means that Mr Gatti receives no compensatory day off in respect of Easter Monday and Whit Monday, while full time employees do.

Since over 1,100 Dutch Shell part-time employees are effected, it is an ethical issue of some importance, with a huge saving for Shell, as a result of the use of blatant discrimination.  If you do a rough calculation based on a yearly salary of 60,000 EUR and part-timers working 80%, 4 days a week, you reach a saving of more than 600,000 EUR/year.

Interested parties are invited to read the extensive email correspondence, as it provides more detail about the issues and reveals an unprofessional, and at times, surprisingly cavalier attitude on the part of Shell HR department in response to a legitimate issue raised by Mr Gatti. Its legitimacy was confirmed by the CGB judgement in his favour following court proceedings.

In a letter dated 23 September 2011, signed by Jeanine van Barlingen, NL HR Manager – Projects & Technology, Mr Gatti was notified of the decision by Shell to flout the judgement of the Dutch Equal Rights Commission.

Shell has recently informed the involved parties that is not willing to rectify its wrong doing and will not take any action to prevent such discrimination from happening again.

Perhaps due to the influence that Royal Dutch Shell has with the Dutch mainstream media, attempts to have the story published in Dutch newspapers have been to no avail, which is probably unsurprising bearing in mind that the recent offshore oil spill in Nigeria had almost no coverage in the Dutch press.

The Judgement published on the CGB website

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MY EMAIL TO SHELL

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Subject: Shell flouts discrimination ruling by Dutch Equal Treatment Commission
Date: 31 December 2011 22:01:57 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected]

Dear Mr Brandjes

Printed below is a self-explanatory draft article.

Kindly let me know by close of business on Wednesday if Shell wishes to point out any inaccuracy in relation to the stated facts and/or provide comment for publication alongside the article.

If Shell does wish to respond, kindly provide an indication of when we can reasonably expect a substantive response (there is no great urgency attached provided we know Shell will be responding).

With your permission, we continue to receive job applications and business proposals meant for Shell using the agreed latitude to sift out junk mail and deal with the remainder as we deem appropriate, including providing correct contact information, or putting parties into direct contact with you.

Best Regards for 2012
John Donovan

1 Comment on “Shell flouts discrimination ruling by Dutch Equal Treatment Commission”

  1. #1 usedtobe
    on Jan 6th, 2012 at 20:57

    Not surprised at all. In my painful experience Shell HR makes up their own rules as they go along. As does Shell senior “management” for that matter. No consistency, no standards, unequal treatment, favouritism etc etc.

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