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 🙂