The Danish High Court has sentenced a Tvind institution to pay 1.1 million Danish kroner (nearly $200,000) for severe exploitation of four former employees, who say they were paid to work 37 hours a week, but often worked 70 hours, sometimes even longer.
The ex-workers at ‘Casablanca’, a home for troubled youth in the city of Holstebro, Denmark, had claimed some two million dollars in damages for lack of overtime pay. But the Court awarded them 725,000 Danish kroner. The facility was ordered to pay the plaintiffs an additional 383,000 kroner in legal costs and interest.
Tvind runs many such institutions in Denmark, which are paid millions of kroner by municipalities to take in children and adolescents with problems. Tvind and its controlling body, the Teachers Group (TG), has for some years had to hire outside of the organisation to meet municipalities’ requirements for a certain number of qualified employees.
TG veteran Steen Conradsen, a former headmaster and current chairman of Casablanca, has previously stated to the Court that all employees know about the concept of “volunteer time.” He told the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Holstebro-Struer:
“If we do not have volunteer time, we could not have the staffing that we have.”