'Modern slavery' firm must pay intern €50k

The Local Germany
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'Modern slavery' firm must pay intern €50k
Photo: DPA

A Munich court has ordered an insurance company to pay a woman €50,000 after they kept her on as an intern for five and a half years.


For her full-time job Sabine M. receive a salary of €300 per month - or €1.75 per hour - for more than half a decade, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

The Munich labour court ruled that such work conditions were unethical and ordered the company to back-pay Sabine M. around €50,000.

When Sabine M. took on the job as an office worker at the city centre company she was only 16 years old, but had already graduated from college.

While the young woman had dreams of becoming a special advisor for financial services, the company constantly thwarted these ambitions, only offering her a contract as an intern.

Her contract obliged Sabine M. to work a 43 hour week without paid overtime.

There were also compulsory theory classes at her boss’ house on the idyllic Chiemsee lake.

But along with the other interns, Sabine M. was made to tend his garden.

The final straw came in March 2015 when the company refused to give her holiday time.

Lawyers Christine Wilhelm and Sascha Petzold described the case as one of “modern slavery.”

The company defended itself by arguing that Sabine M. could have resigned at any moment and that she was also a poor worker.


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