Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Growing Nanny Corporation

I don't know if many of the readers remember back in the day (or were even alive back then) when TV shows and the like would regularly post notices that "the views expressed by (so and so) are not necessarily the views of (name of organization)." Essentially the business was saying that they are simply a presentation medium and not an endorser of whatever was said. This was essentially a means of covering themselves in the case the person said or wrote something libelous or slanderous.

Part of this disconnect of the company and the person(s) was the idea that the only time a company had any say over your behavior was when you were on the clock. It was not the business of the business what you did off the clock and off premises. But of late this has changed quite dramatically.

A few years ago a state employee went to a protest over the "Ground Zero mosque" and proceeded to burn a Koran. People called for this guy to be fired. First amendment and prior restraint issues aside, I was quite bothered by the idea that people think that people ought to be unemployed, possibly for the rest of their lives, if they engaged in behavior, on their own time, particularly protected behavior, that others did not approve of but was not criminal.

In lesser observed news, obese people were and are being threatened with unemployment if they fail to get healthier. Why? Insurance reasons. It costs more to insure a fat person as they pose more of a risk. At first I thought that such thinking wasn't a problem. But then I thought about me. I'm not obese by any stretch of the imagination but I engage in behavior that would be considered "risky". I bike in traffic. Sometimes without a helmet. That puts me in a higher risk category for medical coverage that of a non-cyclist. And that behavior is entirely voluntary. Should my employer forbid me to ride a bike? Should my health insurance be higher? I rollerblade. I might get an ACL injury due to that. It is definitely a higher risk than non roller-bladers. Should my employer ban that behavior? I skateboard. I could fall off, veer into oncoming traffic. Twist my ankle and cost my employer. Should I be banned from that behavior?

I swim. I love big waves. I could be pulled out to sea and drown. Should my employer forbid me from that? I drive a convertible. The risk of a head injury is far higher than in a standard frame vehicle. Should my employer....you know the deal. If it's OK for an employer to discriminate against an employee for behavior and body types that are either voluntary or not "to save money" is a very slippery slope. Why is the employer in your personal business? The only thing that matters is whether the employee is doing the job which he or she has been employed to do. That is all.

This brings me to the recent NFL decision in regards to domestic violence:

Goodell said that effective immediately any N.F.L. employee — not only a player — who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involved physical force will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.
While I am in no way belittling domestic violence, my problem here is like the previous commentary. Why is the NFL, a corporation involving itself in the personal, off premises activities, of it's employees? And it appears to me that there isn't even a consideration of criminal charges being proven. That aside, why should the NFL put itself in between the issues of it's employees and the people they are in relationships with? if the NFL wants to hold itself to a higher standard as they claim, they SHOULD have said that we believe that corporations ought not be involved in the personal lives of it's employees beyond those activities directly related to their ability to perform the jobs they are hired for.

Domestic violence is bad. Unfortunately domestic violence is initiated by both men and women. What is the position of the NFL if your significant other, a non-NFL employee, decides to threaten an NFL employee with a knife and the NFL employee disarms that person and in the process injures the significant other? Will the NFL suspend the employee? In essence the NFL has decided that only one party in what is often (as in 50% of the time) an act initiated by another party. It threatens the life long employment of it's employees (mostly men) in order to play politics. And when you read the letter sent by Goodell it is clearly aimed at men, with absolutely no regard to the facts of domestic violence.

The NFL should leave punishment for crimes to the justice system. If an employee is convicted of domestic violence, he or she should do the time, pay the fine and go back to work. What happens if/when every company takes such a position? What happens if/when such positions are taken on a whole range of behaviors (criminal or not)? Permanent unemployment? Really?

Be vary wary of the growing nanny corporation.