The story that emerged during overnight radio talk-back....(and believe me, if you suffer even a little insomnia you can listen quite attentively in the small hours)....seems to be a new low for employers. Forty thousand dollars compensation for termination of employment due to a renewed commitment of a certain Employee to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. This meant that said Employee could not work on Saturdays. Well fair enough but why didn't he walk away from the job that required him to work on Saturdays and look for a Monday to Friday alternative???
The story takes me back ten years to when I was running an After Hours & Emergency Medical Centre in Auckland where Sunday was a very busy day. Oh yes, we needed all the help we could garner on Sundays. And oh how vividly I recall a tall, suntanned and relatively newly employed nurse; for one thing she was in fact extremely good at her job. However she and I seemed to get off on the wrong foot as far as employee relations were concerned which I put down to the fact that a couple of months into the job she told me she would not be able to work on Sundays in future as she was a Roman Catholic.
`But why?' I ventured to enquire faintly, `Did you take a job at a clinic that describes itself as an After Hours & Emergency facility? We are open for business on Sundays - from eight am until midnight.'
I cannot now remember what her reply was but after some consultation with the Nurses Union she did in fact continue to work her Sunday shifts. I imagine that had the conversation between us occurred in 2014 rather than 2004, she would have consulted with a Human Rights Representative instead.