July 5, 2006
Why employers can’t be judge, jury and executioner
The case of four Air New Zealand engineering stores workers who’ve been given their jobs back shows why employers should not be allowed to be judge, jury and executioner, says the men’s union.
The Employment Relations Authority has ordered that the four Christchurch workers accused of looking at internet porn sites be reinstated after finding the company had failed to investigate the allegations properly.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little, who took the men’s case to the authority, said that it was a classic case of “wilful blindness.”
“The company accused the men of breaching the rules on using the internet and email, but deliberately ignored evidence that did not suit its case, including the fact that dozens of people knew the men’s computer logons and had access to their computers,” he said.
Mr Little said that the men had found the accusations and their subsequent sackings humiliating and distressing.
“Justice is one of the pillars of our society,” he said. “When we’re accused of something we expect a thorough investigation of the facts. To convict and punish people without solid evidence is intolerable.
“This case demonstrates why we must have access to an independent third party who can look at all the evidence and make a fair decision, instead of trusting employers to be judge, jury and executioner, as some people would have us do.”