Plopsa boss fired following bullying accusations

Plopsa boss fired following bullying accusations
Plopsa Group CEO Steve Van den Kerkhof poses for the photographer during the official opening of the Plopsaqua Landen-Hannuit water amusement park, in Hannuit, Wednesday 09 June 2021. Credit: BELGA PHOTO/ ERIC LALMAND

Steven Van den Kerkhof, CEO of the Plopsa chain of amusement parks across Belgium, has been asked to resign, De Tijd reported on Monday. His departure follows a string of accusations of bullying, harassment, poor working conditions, and aggressive work culture.

As previously reported, dozens of witnesses came forward in February to share testimonies of their experience working with the company. Studio 100, Plopsa’s managing company, promised to take the allegations seriously and launched an official investigation. A lawyer was appointed to collect further anonymous testimonies from workers.

Staff alleged that the company CEO was a key instigator behind abusive work conditions at the company. Witnesses spoke of abusive behaviour, insults, and an exaggerated 24/7 work culture which did not respect holidays. They also told of blackmail as well as playing staff members off against each other.

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The final report on the abuse allegations was submitted last week to the CEOs of Studio 100, Hans Bourlon and Gert Verhulst. Senior management of Studio 100 has declined to comment on the findings but sources close to the company confirmed to De Tijd that Kerkhof is leaving. An agreement on his departure has reportedly been reached.

Kerkhof’s lawyer states that his client “has not yet received a letter of dismissal or notice.”

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