Friday, August 22, 2008

Just not on

Shawn Tan works for the EPMU. He is also an ACT candidate, ranked at number ten on the party list. Since the list was announced, his employer has suspended him from work.

That's just not on. It's unfair, it compromises the right of everyone to participate directly in our democracy, and if the political shoe had been on the other foot - if Tan had worked for Business NZ and was standing for Labour - they would be shouting this to the heavens. But quite apart from being unfair and hypocritical, it is also illegal. "Political opinion" is a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Human Rights Act. Employers are forbidden from refusing to employ someone, offer them less favourable terms and conditions and opportunities, or terminate or subject them to any detriment, on the basis of their political beliefs. While there is rightly an exemption for work of a political nature, it only covers political advisors to politicians or candidates, or employees of a political party. And as the Electoral Commission noted a few weeks ago, the EPMU isn't the Labour Party.

The EPMU should give Tan his job back. And otherwise, they deserve to be taken to the cleaners over this.

Update: Corrected link.