79.6 F
Cruz Bay
Thursday, September 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTIME FOR A NEW WRONGFUL DISCHARGE ACT

TIME FOR A NEW WRONGFUL DISCHARGE ACT

There has been a lot of confusion and projection surrounding Judge Thomas K. Moore’s opinion that the Wrongful Discharge Act, as it stands, violates national labor policy and the ensuing return to “at-will” employment.
There seems to be a sense in some sectors that this means we will be forever without any protection for employees.
We don’t think that’s what it means. At least we hope not. What could, and hopefully will, happen next is the introduction of a new labor-policy bill that is fair to both employee and employer.
Time and again we have been told by the business community that the Wrongful Discharge Act worked against the very people it was designed to protect, especially inexperienced youth. That instead of encouraging employers to hire locally, it had the opposite effect. Businesses often resorted to hiring snowbirds” so they didn’t get stuck long-term with a bad employee. The act did not even allow for a probationary period, which discouraged hiring young, inexperienced people because if it turned out they were unable to do the job, employers couldn’t get rid of them.
Time and again we have been told it scared off investors who were reluctant to make a commitment in a place where they couldn’t negotiate with their employees without benefit of a union.
And still it has stood there, often as a cudgel held over the head of employers held hostage by nonperforming employees who felt they couldn’t be fired lest they invoke the mighty power of the Wrongful Discharge Act.
The fact is, in most cases involving the act, the Labor Department found on behalf of the employers, who had documentation to support their dismissals.
We think the power of the act to help local employees is a myth. We hope any new legislation will provide for a reasonable probation period for employers as well as employees. It is a two-way street.
We hope there will also be a provision for private contracts between employees and employers as long as they are in keeping with the established groundsfor dismissal. And we hope those grounds will be fair and reasonable to employers — including belligerence on the part of employees toward the employer’s customers and clients.
Look at the empire built by Walt Disney based on the requirement that the employees smile and treat the guests well. Think what an empire we could build here based on that principle.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.