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The [Employment] Purge

As it’s April Fool’s Day I thought that, instead of a case or legislation update, I would blog about something a little more left field. Ok, a LOT more left field. Has anyone seen the movie “The Purge”? It came out last year and featured a plot device whereby all criminal activity becomes legal for one day every year. I haven’t seen it but presumably mayhem ensues. For full details here’s the Wikipedia summary (SPOILER ALERT). In anticipation of film geeks asking ‘what if someone just uses a bomb?’ the makers did introduce some rules to the purge: weaponry above “Class 4” (such as nuclear weapons) is forbidden. Naturally.

This, along with the introduction of protected conversations last year, got me thinking: what would happen if the government introduced an employment ‘purge’? One day every year when employers could sack employees without any consequences? Of course, as with the movie version, there needs to be some rules, so, as with protected conversations, the purge only applies to unfair dismissal claims.

A few of my thoughts about the possible effects are:

Pro Employees would be very well behaved and more productive than ever leading up to the purge.
Con – Immediately after the purge all work would probably grind to a halt in a concerted sigh of relief from employees.
Pro – You could save up a number of ‘bad eggs’ to dismiss at once without any potential liability. Think of the how much management time and legal expense you would save!
Con – Depending on the number of ‘bad eggs’ you have, the workforce could end up being totally cleared out. Not good if you have an urgent order to fulfil.
Pro – On the day of the purge most employees will be immaculately behaved, probably being (more) sycophantic, baking cakes, and bringing gifts for management and what not. There is no negative side to eating cake…as part of a balanced diet.
Con – Other employees might decide, if they might get sacked anyway, to lie, cheat, steal, and assault management throughout the day. This would most likely be bad for your organisation.

Although it’s clearly hypothetical, do you have any thoughts on this? Is it the bottom of a slippery slope for employees started by protected conversations? Can you think of any other pros or cons?

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