Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Don't play our laws for 'faith' drek

Many years ago I took over a small construction admin office that was failing badly. Staff had become entrenched in their under-worked niches and weren't covering essential tasks previously done by their colleagues who had left or retired and hadn't been replaced. I did what anyone with two ounces of sense would have done - shared out all the work functions amongst the remaining staff, told them there was no extra money for it but if they did as I asked there was a decent chance they'd all be in work in six months.

Most realised the sense of it and knuckled down. One woman, a spinster with genteel pretensions who sort of reckoned she was doing us a favour by working for us, demurred. The carbonless paper documents she was now required to handle, she said, caused her severe allergic reactions. The skin on her hands was irritated she said, and the smell made her eyes water. On these grounds she requested to go back to just doing her previous job, which seemed largely to consist of stamping things with a selection of rubber stamps.

A phone call to site and within an hour a driver brought up a pair of welding gloves and a full-face chemical mask. I dropped them on her desk and instructed her to wear them when handling carbonless paper. Within a week her allergy had disappeared. It was all a bit Gene Hunt and I wouldn't try it these days - but I rescued them all, turned things around and within a year had a tight, loyal team doing three times the work that an office almost twice as large had done previously.

The point is, the way to deal with this sort of thing is to kill it before it gains any sort of life. Muslims who take cooking jobs in police canteens and then complain they have to cook bacon and sausages. Jews who live in a mixed block of flats who claim the timed hallway light breaches their human rights. Neither of these cases should have come anywhere near an employment tribunal or County Court.

Unless we want Christian bank workers to claim constructive dismissal for being engaged in usury against the dictates of their faith, or Jedi Knights to claim faith reasons for turning down a job in MacDonalds, or rastafarians claiming that a requirement for hair nets in a food factory breaches their human rights, clogging the legal system with petty, stupid and vexatious claims, we must find a way to kill all such abuses of our laws. It will mean a reversal of Labour stupidities, of course - but almost everything does, these days.


Mark Wadsworth said...

You missed off Muslim women who take on a job in a cocktail bar and complain about the dress code.

Or Muslim women who expect to get a job at a hairdresser's wearing a headscarf.

Or Muslim men who get sacked for poor performance (upheld by the Tribunal!) who claim that they were sacked for have a twattish beard.

Rachel said...

good gracious - I don't believe it!!

Good old fashioned common sense is back.

Raedwald I salute you