Authorities in the Philippines have launched an investigation into French BPO firm Teleperformance after a report by The Financial Times showed dozens of the company’s employees sleeping in close quarters inside one of its call centers in Cebu City.
The British daily claims to have collected many pictures of employees sleeping on the floor. One of the pictures showed an employee setting up a bed on a treadmill because of a lack of space.
The call center provides customer service to those who have bought Amazon’s internet-connected Ring camera systems.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, who has ordered an investigation, accuses Teleperformance of violating social distancing measures as well as the country’s labor laws.
Considering the report, almost all the employees stayed in the call center after it turned out to be impossible to commute home because of the travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Weeks ago, some BPOs in the country had talked about housing their employees in hotels near their facilities. But Teleperformance employees have told the news daily that they spend most of their time inside the call center and would only step out to purchase groceries and use showers at a nearby hotel.
When the lockdown restrictions came into force, the employees were left with a choice of remaining at the site round-the-clock or forgoing their work entirely. Worried about losing jobs, they chose to stay in the call center.
Amazon has also stated that it would ‘urgently launch an investigation” into the allegation, saying it will not tolerate anyone violating its Vendor Code of Conduct.
With more than 40,000 employees, Teleperformance is one of the biggest private-sector employers in the Philippines. It has been present there since 1996 and running more than 21 delivery centers.