Idiot Lawyers

Three idiot lawyers – , and – have just done a scare-mongering press release about the new probation period law. Their ignorance of the law they criticise seems to be reason never to use them.

In a statement issued today, the lawyers say that the new act exposes everyone who starts a new job in a company where there are fewer than 20 employees to the risk of being sacked without even being told the reason, let alone having any ability to do anything about it.

Wrong. They have the most basic fact wrong. It is not everyone who starts a new job. It is only if the employer wishes there to be a trial period of up to 90 days, and only if the employee agrees to it.

For example, think about a hairdresser who is so good at the job that he/she is attracting all the customers from a nearby competitor. Under these new provisions, a rival salon could poach the hairdresser with promises of more money. Two weeks’ later the hairdresser is sacked – as allowed under the law. It turns out that the new employer’s real intention was to damage a rival’s business and used the hairdresser as a pawn.

How stupid is this example. If the hairdresser is so good at their current job, why would they agree to a trial period with the competitor? You wouldn’t. You’d say that if you want me that badly, then no trial period.

We advise workers:

* Not to accept a position with a company of fewer than 20 employees if they can’t afford to lose the job.

Again moronic stupidity. They have the most basic law wrong. Their advice should be not to accept any employment contract with a trial period in it. But scaremongering against all small businesses is stupid and wrong.

So who do these genius lawyers work for:

Simon Mitchell (Unity Chambers)

Greg Lloyd (National Distribution Union)

Helen White (Unity Chambers)

So one is a union lawyer. How about the other two. Is SImon Mitchell the same Simon Mitchell who purchased the evidence in Paintergate for Helen Clark’s office so they could burn it? And Helen White I presume is the former EPMU lawyer? So is this factually wrong advice politically motivated?

Here’s my advice. If you get offered a job with a small business, don’t quit your previous job until you have signed the employment contract for your new job, and if your employer insists on a trial period, and you don’t want one, then stay in your current job.

Section 67A makes it very clear that the trial period is not automatic:

67A When employment agreement may contain provision for trial period for 90 days or less
(1) An employment agreement containing a trial provision, as defined in subsection (2), may be entered into by an employee, as defined in subsection (3), and an employer as defined in subsection (4).

have already run this press release almost word for word as a story. They should also read the actual law, and also perhaps research the actual background of the lawyers rather than cite them as a neutral group of lawyers.

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