The worker says that he was happy to do his job and do it well, provided he got the time off the law granted him: “My work doesn’t stress me out; if I get vacation time.” He says that he was an exemplary worker for DHL in Costa Rica, with a record of punctuality, no complaints from customers, on-time deliveries, and no disciplinary warnings. The work was not easy, he states, with drivers being constantly under time pressure, working long hours, and DHL reducing the number of drivers and expecting those that remain to complete the extra work.
But, he alleges, when he asked for the first time ever for a period of 15 days of vacation to recover from work stress, DHL refused, arguing they did not have a replacement for such a long period. The company tried to pressure him to sign a document accepting only the few days they would give him, he says, rather than all he had accrued. The worker could not accept this. The working conditions, he feels, were exhausting, with heavy lifting and long hours of driving. Night driving especially took its toll, being both more dangerous and more draining mentally and physically. Under these conditions, the worker believes, he was not only entitled to his vacation time, but required it - for health reasons, and to avoid increasing the risk of an accident. However, he says that when he wouldn’t sign his vacation time away DHL terminated his contract.