The denunciation of the case of Daniela Gomes was made public through social networks and since then has gained another proportion of the media. It all started the 33-year-old young Guinean, with a postgraduate degree in Tourism and Communication, complained to the administration of a colleague for having been a victim of racism in the workplace.
She says she was fired because of that, shortly after having attended a two-week training session to start working at ICTS Portugal, a private security company that operates at Terminal 2 at Lisbon Airport. “I just said I was on trial. But I know they fired me because of the complaint I filed against her. There’s a discriminatory basis to my firing,” she tells DW.
The episode that the practical evidence of racism occurred when, already in the field, a trainer questioned the trainees about the work environment and about the type of animals, such as dogs and cats, that can pass through the airport’s X-ray system before get on the plane.
“At the time, out of curiosity, I asked: ‘What about people who have different pets, for example, snakes?’ She told me there that snakes didn’t pass. And I, out of pure curiosity – because in Guinea-Bissau I had a monkey as a pet – I asked: ‘And monkeys, do they pass on the X-ray?’ And she answers me like this: ‘No, because I see your cousins wandering around the airport and no one puts them in cages to undergo X-rays'”, she reports.
ICTS Portugal Headquarters in Lisbon
Complaints at PGR
The young mother, who has lived in Lisbon since the age of 6, claims that three witnesses witnessed that episode. On the 11th month, he ended up filing a complaint against the functional base at the company’s headquarters in Lisbon. “On the 13th, I went to the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and filed a complaint against her. And the company, after a few days, fired me.”
She considers what happened inadmissible because the company had no reason to fire her: she had experience, as she worked at Lisbon Airport. Hence, it will also proceed with a criminal complaint against ICTS Portugal.
The company’s management denies that it has fired Daniela Gomes and clarifies, in a note sent to DW, that, unfortunately, the facts were omitted in the publications made on social networks.
company denies accusations
Manuel João, security director of ICTS Portugal, explains in the correct note that “there were several terminations of employment contracts within the scope of the trial period”, including the worker in question, “and that they have no relationship with the executive complaint”.
The private security company provides service at Lisbon Airport
ICTS Portugal also informs that the accused is preventively suspended. On the other hand, he added that Daniela Gomes and her colleagues were questioned within the scope of an internal investigation, providing the disciplinary process in progress so that a defendant can present her defense against the facts.
The company says it does not review “in the words spoken and written with regard to the alleged racial discrimination that is attributed to it, nor does it review itself in hate speeches and fundamentalism”. It adds that it prides itself on “having in its ranks collaborators from all trials and origins”.
“Nobody gives credence to the denunciations of victims of racism”
Having already denounced the case, an SOS Racism was ready to accompany the various phases of the process, when investigations were opened by the competent authorities.
“A company cannot fire a female worker, regardless of her legal status, because the argument that she would be on a probationary period and that, therefore, she would have been dismissed under this regulation does not apply. It is a very weak argument and, I would even say , fallacious, “says Mamadou Ba, one of the association’s directors, who considers the case to be “too serious” with “very worrying contours with regard to the responsibilities of the companies”.
The association leader has no doubt that Daniela Gomes was fired because the company does not want to have, in the future, any case of denunciation of racist acts by workers like her.
“In order not to have to deal with this, they preferred to fire her, evade her responsibilities and, ultimately, protect an offender,” he criticizes. “Or you don’t believe Daniela’s complaint” and “if so”, he adds, “it’s a repetition of a film that has already been seen several times.” Mamadou Ba laments that “no one gives credence to the denunciations of victims of racism, which is bad.”