Thursday, 15 October 2015

Discrimination At Work: A Rant!

Discrimination At Work: A Rant!
There are all these laws to protect certain groups of people at work. For example, you can't get rid of someone because are pregnant etc.

Now I'm not saying I don't agree with them to some extent. Everyone should have equal rights.

What annoys me is how there seems to be no protection for people that don't fall into any of these protected categories.

I was having a conversation about this the other day with someone and it really got me annoyed! The example we were talking about was this:

Imagine 3 people. They are all women of child bearing age. They have all worked at the company for the same amount of time, all have the relevant qualifications and all are equally good at the job. Someone has to be laid off.

Person 1 has a child, she struggles to get childcare at certain times which means she often can't cover extra shifts.

Person 2 has a history of depression so is regularly on the sick.

Person 3 has no children and no history of illness. She is readily available to cover shifts as and when required with very little notice needed.

As an employer, which one would you want to keep? I think anyone would choose person 3 if you are looking at it objectively as someone who wants to get value for money from an employee and needs someone flexible.

However, the law would say that laying off person 1 or 2 was discrimination, therefore, you would end up getting rid of person 3.

How is this fair?

And how is it not a form of discrimination in itself?

You are discriminating against person 3 for not having a reason to be discriminated against.

Where is their protection?

The protection for the average person that doesn't have any particular problems?

It appears there isn't any.

For the record, I'm not suggesting that employers should be allowed to get rid of employees willy nilly for these reasons, I'm just saying that in that scenario, there should be a bit of lee way to keep the person who is most suitable for the role - IE: low sickness rate and flexibility. And that there should be some protection for people who don't fall into any of the categories employees aren't allowed to discriminate against.

Maybe these laws are part of the problem, part of the reason employees don't take women who have young children, don't take people with a history of mental (or any other type, that was just an example) illness. Obviously they are not allowed to do that, but we all know they do, they just voice a different reason, which is a lot easier to do at the recruitment stage than the redundancy stage.

What do you think? Do the laws need to protect people who don't fall into these categories? What would you do if you were the employer in this scenario? Let me know in the comments :)

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  1. I was effectively made redundant for being the person who couldn't be flexible, could only do their hours etc. I could have fought it and said that it was discrimination - in fact that was the first question my solicitor asked me, but I didn't have a leg to stand on given my hours were 2 hours more than someone without kids who could flex hers.

    In redundancy everyone should be given the chance to go for what jobs are available and point out whether they're the best for the role (if they're consolidating). In which case, circumstances in theory can't be taken into account, but if the (eg) person with no kids can prove they're more flexible, more willing to do everything then surely they'll be the one to be kept not the ones with kids. That's my experience and understanding in several companies where there've been redundancies (often it's people with kids who take voluntary redundancy because they don't want the hassle, and can see a reason why they'd want to reduce hours and work elsewhere).

    1. I'm sorry to hear your were made redundant, I hope this post hasn't bought back bad memories for you.
      I like your idea of people being able to put forward their case of why they should be kept, but in my experience, these decisions are made behind closed doors with no room for employee input and people are just informed of the decision once it has been made. Thanks for sharing your views :)

  2. I think it should all relate to job performance regardless of other factors. It doesn't but it should!! #effitfriday

    PS In Dubai these haven't yet come into effect and I had a job offer taken away when I disclosed I was pregnant.....

    1. I agree, I understand employees should obviously have rights, but only if they are actually doing the job they are supposed to be doing and doing it well!
      Oh wow, that's pretty harsh!
      Thanks for hosting :)