Monday, October 10, 2005

Fear and loathing on the employment trail

The right to privacy has taken a battering once again with employers' requests for police checks rising to 450,000, up 40 percent in five years. That's a fifth of the workforce scanned by police on behalf of fearful employers in one year. Wary of legal action by a public fuelled by news media speculation of kiddy fiddlers behind every bush, and worried that every employee is a potential fraudster, bosses are demanding greater access to the private lives of their wage slaves.

What are they looking for? Well, police may recommend that "an individual does not have unsupervised access to children, young people or more vulnerable members of society." These files are marked with a Large Red Stamp. How many of these files are stamped every year? Oh, about 170 and they might be duplicates for one person under more than one name. 450,000 checks versus 170 miscreants, tops. Talk about overkill.

These police checks are over and above the Dagg-knows how many credit checks performed every year by employers either directly or by their pimps in Employment Consulting. Oh yeah, and the growing industry of drug testing as promoted by Crown Research Institute moneyspinner, the ESR.

All these tests are compulsory. Refusal is sufficient grounds to lose your job, or in my case, job interview. Why would a reasonable person refuse to give employers permission to strip search their records, unless they have something to hide? Well, the short answer is, it is none of their mother-loving, whore-sucking, sheep-buggering business.

The longer answer is a bit more personal. A few years back, I applied for a job as Table Games Dealer at Sky City in Orkland. The application form for a casino licence requires a credit check, your employment history over the last ten years (mine took three pages), a police security check involving the taking of fingerprints (guilty until proven innocent), photo (probably to match with mugshots of illegal immigrants) and a $450 fee for the pleasure. Suffice it to say it is closest you can get to an official rape this side of the police force.

That one seriously bad trip put me off employment checks for life. No more, nuh uh, no way, no how. Unfortunately, this promise has also led to the longest period of unemployment in my life. Ah well, it's not the first time I've cut my nose to spite my face and it won't be the last...