Employers: Now is not the time to bring in discrimination laws

EMPLOYERS say that the current deep recession is the wrong time to introduce new anti-discrimination laws.

Jersey Chamber of Commerce president David Warr
Jersey Chamber of Commerce president David Warr

EMPLOYERS say that the current deep recession is the wrong time to introduce new anti-discrimination laws.

And they also claim that ministers have ignored their protests that the new laws will add to the costs of employing staff at a time when record numbers of Islanders are out of work.

The Institute of Directors and the Jersey Chamber of Commerce say they both support the principal of preventing of discrimination in the workplace but question the timing of its introduction.

Last week Social Security Minister Francis Le Gresley released draft legislation that he intends to put to the States at some point this year that will outlaw racial discrimination.

Comments for: "Employers: Now is not the time to bring in discrimination laws"

SB

I too "question the timing of its introduction".

It should have been years, if not decades ago.

Stop attempting to anchor the island to the past.

Slawek

Let me translate Mr Warr speaking in behalf of employers:

We WANT and we should be able to discriminate anyone on any basis. And the recession is a perfect excuse to do this.

Nice.

Parktown Prawn

I agree Slawek

However, you may have read his earlier comments in the news where he suggested he only hires (low paid) immigrant labour because no "locals" apply for his jobs......he was caught out when it transpired that no locals were even aware that he had vacancies......it was suggested that the (low paid) immigrant labour who applied caught wind of the vacancies via existing employees.

Make of that as you will, but this appears to be a man who likes to take advantage of the labour market in order to increase his profits.....and he is the Chamber of Commerce president! ;-)

JerseyD

NO, that is not what I am reading. This is Typical JEP, wording it to sound worse than it is. I was at this conference, it was agreed that laws are needed and they should be put in place - what the JEP have picked up on is them saying, it'll cost us to impliment these changes at a time all companies are trying to reduce costs.

My view is that it has to be done so we absorbe it and get on with it but there is not a never ending pot of costs

Sam

There is no such thing as a "wrong time for anti-discrimination laws".

When is there a right time to be able to pay a woman less for doing the same job as a man?

When is there a right time to be able to treat someone differently because of their race?

When is there a right time to not provide equal opportunities and access for disabled people?

It's just absurd.

As a commenter above says, what it is really about is employers not wanting to fork out extra for treating people like equal human beings and less justifications for them to be able to pay people less.

James Wiley

Anti-discrimination laws do not stop discrimination, they just make people more careful about how they discriminate.

They do however cost both employers (who have to a lot of form filling) and the taxpayer (who have to pay for another department full of civil servants).

Another success for bureaucracy, another tax rise in the offing.

Thirtysomething

James, Anti-theft laws do not stop people stealing, they just make people more carefill about stealing.

Does that mean we shouldn’t have laws in place for larceny?

Now, Both you and the Court Jester, sorry Mr Warr have stated that this law will cost employers.

How?

The law would requires employers that employ staff doing the same role to treat them equally, and not to have multiple different employment terms because of race. So this would actually reduce costs of having multiple categories of employment for people doing the same job.

Unless you believe that two people doing the same job should be treated differently because of skin colour?

James Wiley

No I don't believe that skin colour is a sound basis on which to choose employees and I do not believe that any business would do so.

Any sane business would choose the person who they believed would generate the most revenue.

But I am long in the tooth and I know how these things work.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This will be a civil service department who will need to find people who have been discriminated against to provide them with a raison d'etre.

So they will find square pegs and shave them down so they can be squeezed into the round hole and employers will be dragged before the tribunal which costs win or lose.

Thirtysomething

So... will this law cost employers or not? If so, how?

Dont give theories of how things might happen, provide facts!

Remember, there is two definitions of discrimination

1) Understanding of the difference between one thing and another.

Which all employers should do.

2) Unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people.

Which no employer should do.

This law would punish employers who discriminate as per definition 2, and as you agree, quite rightly so.

So there cannot be any “flutter on the anti-discrimination lottery” just like there is no “flutter on the rape lottery”

Both should be treated seriously and investigated to determine facts before deciding who is guilty.

Or have you already decided some laws should treat people as guilty before its even investigated?

How can you object to this law on the grounds that *some* people, like any other crime, will make false accusations?

Parktown Prawn

James

Are you for real?

The only time it will "cost" employers is when they abuse these common decencies (sorry, "laws").

If they are decent employers in the first place then this should not be an issue!

If you are an employer yourself then I know what kind you are, judging by your comment!

James Wiley

On the contrary it will cost employers every time someone wants to have a flutter on the anti-discrimination lottery (which will of course be a free play).

Every employer discriminates on some basis or another, otherwise you would not be able to make a choice between applicants.

So if I want to employ an unskilled but hard working person who will generate the most revenue, but an academically qualified and experienced person who is indolent, also applies and I make the business decision - then there is still a case which can be made and must be answered.

That the person may not get any award at the end does not mean it does not cost the employer to go to the hearing.

There is a reason that lawyers cost so much... to encourage people to resolve issues without going to Court.

We have seen what taking away this financial deterrent leads to with the JACS/ Employment Tribunal fiasco. Which only discourages employment locally.

Parktown Prawn

"Every employer discriminates on some basis or another, otherwise you would not be able to make a choice between applicants."

Absolute rubbish.....you choose applicants based upon their skills, knowledge and experience. THAT is how you separate them and THAT is NOT discrimination.

You set out the criteria you are looking for in a person on the job description.

"So if I want to employ an unskilled but hard working person who will generate the most revenue, but an academically qualified and experienced person who is indolent, also applies and I make the business decision – then there is still a case which can be made and must be answered."

(this could also read that you want to employ the cheaper person and don't know how to reject the person that is actually "skilled" for the job, but may cost you more!)

Simple: In your job description state that you are looking for (cheap) "unskilled but hard working person". How you know if a person is lazy or hardworking until you have actually hired them is beyond me though. You cannot judge this by their appearance (or nationality) alone!

The interview process is your way of selecting the BEST person for the job. Unless you are simply judging a person by their colour or background then how is this discrimination?

Maybe you need to enhance your interviewing skills?

Darius Pearce

Personally I always go by their astrology, I have their charts done by my astrologer in San Francisco and his is a very good judge of character - it is a much better way of choosing employees than academic records.

James Wiley

Do you discriminate against any sun sign in particular?

Mario

If you don't want something to be introduced you can't really be in favour can you? Playing the "times is hard" card doesn't wash with me. Many are still doing darned well in this present economic climate.

Making as much money as possible is after all what businessmen are interested in. Anything that risks cutting into their profits and ultimately their lifestyle will be opposed. It is human nature to want as much as possible.

One World Wally

Ah so is it the case that employers are concerned that when they make redundancies they need to be careful that they have an objective non racial justification for who they dismiss. Reading between the lines I bet this is the case.

I note that the Cooper & Co website makes great play of the fact that some of their coffee is Fairtrade and that they inspect plantations to check on working conditions.

Are employment rights for Jersey workers any less important? But there again not all of Coopers coffee is Fairtrade so I am getting a tad confused as to what is important and what isn't and why, perhaps Mr Warr could enlighten us.

Captain Fantastic

We are supposed to be an island based on wealth and prosperity, yet Mr Warr wants to keep it in the dark ages regarding human rights. I suggest he goes and sets up business in China where his kind are welcomed by the government.

About time the Chamber of Commerce took the lead over sorting out the ever growing unemployment problem by employing locals and not more immigrants that eventually add to the burden on the public purse, I suggest he goes and sits with those in queues at Social Security and air his views there if he has the guts, but I very much doubt it. And he will also need a multi lingual translator if he was not aware of it.

sporran

Yes, the chamber want the flexibility to employ anyone from anywhere in the world on whatever terms they determine irrespective of the consequences to the local workforce.

Proud Immigrant

It may be shocking to some people in this our beloved island to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they 'preach discrimination' by means of their opposition to a law that seeks to enshrine the universal doctrine... that all men are born equal.

.

I would beg to differ, Godwin's Law.

Laws like the one which is proposed have their roots in facsism because it is all about forced behavioural devices.

They also have quite a lot in common with a national socialist, or Nazi, regime. Both masquerade under a socialist banner and both have quite a lot to do with dictatorship and the imposition oif laws in the absence of popular franchise.

Si

What's the point in bringing discrimination issues into Employment Law when they will be made a joke of by the existence of compromise agreements?

With a compromise agreement you can get rid of whoever you want, whenever you want, don't even have to give a reason and there's no protection for the employee at all. In theory you have the Tribunal, but they have massive delays, aren't really very good and coupled with the current economic and employment situation in the island employees are essentially forced to sign an "agreement" even if they don't actually agree with it.

That's the States of Jersey for you, look after the employer, don't care in the slightest about the worker.

Employers need not worry at all about this discrimination, employees should be worrying more and more each day about their protection against bad employers being eroded. The States were clearly stupid enough to assume all employers are good when they introduced compromise agreements, if only that were true.

Sarah

Very good post.

I would add that the statutory requirement for independent legal advice is often reduced to farce, with the "independent" advisor engaged by the employer and paid for by the employer.

Si

Well said Sarah. Also the independent legal adviser probably issues compromise agreements on behalf of other clients and is likely in favour of them as it brings them business.

They are an incredibly good tool. I have issued some in situations where they most definitely should have been issued, but I have issued others where I feel strongly that the company should be made to account for their behaviour in a public forum so potential future employees can make a more informed decision about who they work for.

James Wiley

It is clear that not many actually see 'employment' for what it is... allow me to shatter your delusions.

By abrogating your personal financial responsibility to another person, you are giving up some of your freedom. You are saying, 'I am not capable of looking after myself, I need help'.

An employment contract is fundamentally a slavery contract, not an outright purchase of you admittedly, but a leasehold over you nonetheless.

It is not so much that you are selling yourself to your employer, because an employment contract is not worth the paper it is written on if you are an employer, but you are agreeing to allow the government to steal from you (although they call it ITIS and SS).

The government loves employment contracts because it automatically enforces their power over you and it is easier for them to collect their taxes from you.

They take so much money from some workers that they then have to go to the government, on their knees, and BEG to get some of it back from income support - many do not even realise that it is only their own hard earned money that they are getting back.

Very few question why the government is allowed to impoverish people to that extent in the first place any way.

It is immoral.

Now, as Rousseau said, your chains may be made of garlands, but you are still a slave.

You could always work for yourself, but you choose not to.

I cannot understand why anyone would want to be employed, on any basis. You can work as a sub-contractor, when you want, how you want and only if you want.

The only downside is that if you choose not to work, you starve, there will be times of plenty and times of hardship and there is no certainty about anything. You survive only on your own ability.

I was a child once and my parents did everything for me, but I grew up and learned to stand on my own two feet. There are too many Peter Pan's in this world now.

I am not fool enough to believe that anyone owes me anything, that my future is secure or that I have a god given right to a high standard of living. That my success will be based on anything but my own efforts.

I would certainly never use the excuse that I am of mixed ethnicity or gay to delude myself into thinking that anyone, other than I, was ultimately responsible for whatever situation I found myself in. And that anyone, other than I, would be responsible for improving my lot.

Unfortunately I am in a minority; most people believe that they are ENTITLED to be given everything for nothing. This child-like attitude is fostered and encouraged by a ruthless bureaucracy. Your need is their excuse for all sorts of abuses.

Many employees believe that an employer has to abide by the terms of a contract, but an employee does not. I would not enter into a one sided contract like that.

My advice is to grow up.

Si

I write as the person whose job it is to issue these compromise agreements. The commonly miss-held belief is that all employers are in favour of them. This isn't the case, mostly it is only employers who are looking after other people's money who are in favour of them. It's easy to throw away money when it isn't your own.

Employees are not given something for nothing, the majority work hard, often for less than they are worth and they deserve every penny. Most of all they deserve respect, every human being deserves respect. It is employees who vote for the politicians that make these laws, not companies. No employee has voted to have all their human rights removed.

Quite often those at the top are getting something for nothing, and you would be naive to think that everyone at the top has worked their way there. Some have, some haven't.

I would advise you to grow up as you clearly fail to see that in this world there needs to be companies, the world could not operate with everybody being self-employed.

It's a shame that your parents did everything for you, it's clearly made you the way you are. Some of us were lucky enough to have parents who made us stand on our own two feet and taught us respect for our fellow man.