Left-wing politicians often point to other countries as models for the US. But what happens in those countries is a reason I worry about the expanding role of government in the US. Last week, a Australian government committee used a new law called the “Fair Work Act” to force a company to re-hire an employee -- even though it found the worker engaged in "relatively serious misconduct."
Why did the company have to hire him back? The bureaucrats were at least up-front about it, as The Australian reports:
[If the employee, Mr. Quinlivan] had not been a middle-aged man with very poor employment prospects for whom the dismissal has such serious personal and economic consequences… I would not have concluded that the dismissal was harsh," vice-president Michael Lawler found…He said Mr Quinlivan should have been warned rather than sacked. He ordered his reinstatement and that he be paid $16,000.
How kind of the government bureaucrats, helping poor Mr. Quinlivan with other peoples’ money.
Ironically, violating government rules was a reason the company wanted to fire him in the first place.
During a shutdown at Norske Skog Paper Mills in Albury last September, Paul Quinlivan and a colleague were cleaning out a tank that captured staples from recycled pulp, when he repeatedly removed his safety glasses and was told four times by a manager to put them back on.
... his repeated failure to wear the safety glasses and his disdainful and abusive response to management amounted to serious misconduct.
The company could be fined millions of dollars if Quinlivan got hurt on the job while not wearing safety glasses.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. No wonder Australian companies are reluctant to hire new employees. As the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry puts it:
"It makes it very difficult for employers to try and work their way through this maze of what seem to be competing obligations contained in different pieces of legislation.
Big government puts all of us in the maze.