Investigation Required to Clear Claims Against OBS

(ATR) Olympic Broadcast Services has assets frozen as it fights charges of violating Brazilian labor laws.

(ATR) The Rio Ministry of Public Work (MPT) tells Around the Rings a full investigation is required to clear Olympic Broadcast Services of any wrongdoing in Brazil.

A Brazilian court is holding the assets of OBS over a claim from a prosecutor that contract workers were forced to fulfill "abusive working hours" in Rio. The prosecutor accepted the suit from the MPT over non-compliance with Brazilian labor laws. OBS is believed to have forced contract employees to work a shift longer than what is allowed and were not paid for it.

A statement from the court says that the assets will be returned when "material compensation for possible damage to workers hired by OBS" is paid.

OBS says they have complied with all rules and regulations in Brazil.

The MPT told ATRit is aware that OBS says it is not at fault but says research suggests otherwise. The MPT claims whether or not staffers were paid overtime "will all be found in the investigation".

"According to the research, over 2,000 professionals were hired by OBS through Corporate contracts (PJ) and through provision of service as Individual Micro-Entrepreneurs (MEI) and were required to comply with working hours of more than 10 hours daily," a spokesperson for the MPT said in a statement. "The process was due to complaints, which were cleared through the work of prosecutor’s inspections of Games arenas."

OBS serves as the host broadcaster for an Olympic Games, and provides feeds for rights holders to use during broadcasts. OBS was created by the IOC, but exists as a separate corporation founded in Madrid. To operate in Rio during the 2016 Olympics, a temporary company (CNPJ) was created to allow for the hiring of contract workers both Brazilian and foreign for the Games.

A statement from OBS confirmed the lawsuit, but declined to comment further on the matter so as not to disrupt the legal process in Brazil. It is unclear if the IBC will continue to be dismantled in Rio, or will stay up until the suit is settled.

"OBS takes pride in ensuring that regardless of where the Games take place the professionals participating in the operation are provided with working conditions which are in line with the best practices of the industry at an international level and makes extraordinary efforts to help the development of broadcasting professionals at the Host Cities of the Games," said the statement.

"The Broadcast of the Rio Olympic Games to the world involved the efforts of over 7,000 professionals from more than 70 different countries, including a large proportion of Brazilians who participated in the largest televised sport event in the world."

Rio 2016 declined to comment on the matter to ATR.

Written by Aaron Bauerin Rio de Janeiro

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