Labor rights and the pandemic – Anna’s story

Copyright Steven Tagle

 by the Legal Service of the Athens Solidarity Center*

We met Anna a few months ago, when she addressed the Legal Service of the SolidarityNow’s Solidarity Center in Athens, in order to seek help regarding her work and her relation with the employer company.

Her story began in April 2020 with the outbreak of the pandemic and the first lockdown. The woman was working in a building cleaning company for many years. When the first lockdown was imposed, due to the curfew and the suspension of all services, she called her employer to find out if and how she could now provide her work. The company’s response was that she would have to wait and they would notify her when she could return to her job duties.

A month later and without having come in any previous communication, they shared with her a voluntary resignation document with her signature. Her resignation automatically meant that Anna could not claim the unemployment allowance provided by OAED, which she would receive if the company fired her. Having a great need for her job and salary, Anna decided to claim her rights and for this purpose, she addressed our Legal Service.

Immediately, our legal team undertook the mediation between Anna and the employer company, by direct communication with the company managers. After persistent effort, constant pressure and meetings with them, we managed to find a commonly accepted out-of-court solution. The company accepted the fair settlement we proposed, which ensured our beneficiary’s basic employment rights.

The compromise we reached provided for the drafting, submission of a letter of dismissal and its notification by the employer company to our beneficiary. Thus, Anna is currently receiving a regular unemployment allowance from OAED, patiently waiting for the day when the pandemic will allow her to work again.

*Since May 2019, the Athens Solidarity Center is financed by EEA and Norway Grants, with HumanRights360 and CROWE Greece as the fund operator. The Center is also supported by the Municipality of Athens.