Turkcell call center employee wins lawsuit against firm for refusing to provide daycare

A Turkish court has ordered Turkcell to pay compensation to a former employee which it fired for requiring daycare services for her young children at the workplace.

Deniz Tekin / DUVAR

A woman working at a call center for Turkcell, the country's largest cellular phone service provider, in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır, has won a lawsuit against the company after it fired her for sending a legal notice requesting that they provide daycare services for her young children. 

B.C. worked as a customer service representative since 2013 at the call center, and was forced to leave her three-year-old daughter with relatives, as her workplace did not have a daycare facility. 

After getting pregnant with her second child, B.C. verbally requested on several occasions that a daycare be opened at the call center, but her requests went ignored. In 2018, together with a lawyer, she sent the company a notarized written warning, citing 2013 legislation that requires workplaces employing more than 150 women to provide daycare and other childcare facilities.

“You did not fulfill your obligation to open a daycare center, nor did you provide any support to have me leave my children at any other daycare. Due to being a mother with a three-year-old, I had to remind you again with this written notice that you fulfill your obligation to open a nursery so that I can drop off my daughter there when necessary,” B.C. wrote.

However, the company interpreted the written notice as a resignation letter, booting B.C. from her job, refusing to pay severance and making her ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. 

B.C. filed a lawsuit in a Diyarbakır court, which ruled in her favor, deciding that it was unacceptable for the company to determine that her written notice was a resignation letter, and ordered that it pay her 10,563 TL in severance pay.

According to B.C.'s lawyer Vedat Yüce, the call center where his client formerly worked employed 1,300 people, 65 percent of whom are women.

“Children aged 0-6 are very dependent on their mothers. The child needs the attention and support of their mother for their psychological and social development and healthy nutrition. For this reason, nurseries where mothers can safely leave their children during working hours should be opened and expanded,” Yüce said.