par planet labor
Action Against Business Crime is about to launch a database where employers can register information about dishonest workers. This initiative is kicking up a stir.
A tool for responsible companies. The National Staff Dismissal Register is being launched by Action Against Business Crime (AABC), a joint "crime reduction partnership" set up by the British Retail Consortium and the Home Office. The employees concerned will be those who have been sacked or resigned while under suspicion of dodgy behavior towards the firm, such as theft of money or merchandise, falsification of documents, damage to company property. Workers sacked for these offences will be included on the register, regardless of whether police had enough evidence to convict them. Mike Schuck, chief executive of AABC, warned that he would not accept all companies as customers. "People who will be given access to the database will belong to companies who are official members. They are accepted if they agree to carry out responsible employment policies,, to respect the law concerning the protection of data and recruitment policies’ codes of conduct;." major companies including HMV, Harrods, Mothercare and Selfridges have already signed up to the scheme.
Subjectivity denounced. Trade unions and organizations for the defense of human rights immediately criticized the initiative, saying that workers are at the mercy of fake accusations. Hanna Reed, TUC policy officer, told the BBC "The TUC is seriously concerned that this register can only lead to people being shut out from the job market by an employer who falsely accuses them of misconduct or sacks them because they bear them a grudge." She added that individuals would be treated as criminals, even though the police have never been contacted.
Auditing information. Faced with this risk, AABC’s leader answered that there will be a system checking the data collected, which may be confirmed by disciplinary reports. "Employers have to go through a disciplinary process during which they confront the worker with his/her alleged faults, present evidence and, if necessary, the worker can lodge an appeal internally. If he/she thinks he/she is being treated wrongly, the case is transferred to an industrial court." Therefore, this data will be asked when the worker’s name is registered. "of course, the law on data security states that data concerning employees must be correct; if the workers disagree, they have to settle this with the employer. If the latter says that the data is correct and that they will remain in the database, the worker can go to the data access Commission."
Check applicants’ dodgy behavior. Why would employers be interested in this database? Mike Schuck said: "in some sectors (hotel industry, transportation, construction…), the major issue is the high turnover rate. Workers are usually employed with no references, and some of them who were dismissed because of misconduct can find another job and harm a new employer."
Planet Labor, May 27, 2008, No. 080427 – www.planetlabor.com