Around thirty employees from the Belgian chocolatier Godiva demonstrated in front of the company’s Koekelberg office on Saturday. This was due to mental and sexual harassment in the Godiva stores on the main squares in Brussels and Antwerp. Next week, they plan a similar action in front of the stores in Sablon and Stephanie square.
“In 2013, our bosses employed a violent manager, who threw scissors, made threats, manipulated, spied, intimidated, lied, put us under psychological pressure, made sexual advances and in some cases touched employees inappropriately. The situation lasted for two years, during which time we were subjected to scorn, misunderstanding and inaction by our bosses. They took no disciplinary action,” say the employees, who work in the Godiva store on the main square in Brussels.
The Godiva management criticized “the unfounded allegations by a small isolated group of employees in one of our Belgian stores”.
“Immediately after learning of possible dysfunction in one of our stores in 2014, there was an internal inquiry, which led to an individual leaving. Our management spoke to all the employees at the store at length to re-iterate our commitment to giving all our employees a healthy and pleasant work environment”, says Laurence Koutny, in charge of public relations at Godiva.
“We put a zero tolerance policy in place for all inappropriate behaviour at the work place. There are clear procedures to protect our employee’s well-being”, he added.