Thursday, May 08, 2008

A license to frame and shame

The new National Staff Dismissal Register is a web site that is about to be launched to enable employers to name and shame, or possibly frame and shame ex-employees. It aims to create a blacklist of potential workers that employers should avoid going well beyond the concrete facts that the Criminal Records Bureau might provide.

This site cannot be allowed to go ahead. Employers can take against employees for a whole number of reasons. Whilst some are legitimate there are a whole raft of others that are not. An employer may dislike someone because they refuse to work unpaid overtime, for being an effective trade unionist or because they are gay. An employer may resent someone who objects to being bullied and knows their legal rights, who holds different political views to them or who is simply better at their job than they are.

Every petty minded boss, and there are plenty of them, is to be given a license to smear ex-employees and potentially ruin their career with any old accusation that they might care to dream up. Even where an employee is sacked appropriately a public and permanent record, with no right of defense or appeal, will be completely disproportionate in the vast majority of cases.

If I'm caught stealing a tenner from the till I don't deserve to keep my job, but I don't deserve to be made permanently unemployed at the tax payers expense either. It isn't helpful and there are few non-criminal charges where this would be anything like a fair and reasonable response.

All this scheme does is to give further leverage to employers to make unreasonable demands of their workforce. One ex-employer's unsubstantiated whim should never be enough to blacken someone's name or ruin their livelihood, yet this is precisely the aim of this site. This system isn’t simply open to abuse – it’s designed for it.


Ian said...

You're absolutely right. Not to mention the chances of getting blacklisted for a particular political view you may have expressed at work

Leftwing Criminologist said...

Exactly, I can't help but agree with all you've written here.