Saturday, April 05, 2014

Who's The Boss?



Andrew Sullivan continues to fail to understand how things work:
When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance.
No, this is the definition of a free and unregulated* labor market as preached by every Libertarian and Conservative I have ever heard of.

See, out here in the real world, most working people have a thing called a "boss".

How can you tell who's the boss?  Easy.  The boss is the person who can hire and fire you.

That's lesson #1.

Lesson #2:  When and under what circumstances can your boss fire you? 

Again, this is very easy. Thank's to the Conservative Long War on Labor, today almost every worker in almost every job in almost every state is an "at-will" employee who may be canned by the boss for almost any reason, or no reason at all:
[A]n employer may terminate its employees at will, for any or no reason ... the employer may act peremptorily, arbitrarily, or inconsistently, without providing specific protections such as prior warning, fair procedures, objective evaluation, or preferential reassignment ... The mere existence of an employment relationship affords no expectation, protectable by law, that employment will continue, or will end only on certain conditions, unless the parties have actually adopted such terms.[6]
Yes, there are exceptions such as race, religion, sex, handicap status and so forth, but the burden of affirmatively proving that you were fired because you're a member of one of those protected categories falls to the fired employee, and short of discovering a cache of documents in which your boss explicitly outlines his plans to terminate you because you're a woman or gay or over 40, you're usually shit outta luck.

Welcome to Capitalism 101!

I have seen people sacked for being too unattractive for the new boss's tastes.  For having too must melanin.  For being dangerously competent.  For being too honest.  Too old.  Because the boss's drinking buddy or mistress doesn't like you.  For having the wrong last name.  For having the bad luck of not knowing an alderman who owes you a favor.  Because the boss needed to make a soft place for one of his pals to land when he got laid off from some other division.

Because in a free and unregulated labor market, firing you because, well, fuck you, that's why, is the boss's very own modern-day droit du seigneur.

So if you want to bitch about someone being fired for reasons you think are unfair, take a number and take your place at the end of the line. And be prepared for a long hike because it is a very, very long line indeed.

And if you want to bitch about some internet company CEO being forced to resign for reasons you think are unfair, take it up with the Zombie Ronald Reagan, because the those of trying to scratch out a living in the supply-side/right-to-work ruins of what once was the American middle class really don't want to hear about it.

*Thanks, D!

13 comments:

D. said...

"...this is the definition of a free and unrelated labor market as preached by every Libertarian and Conservative I have ever heard of."

1. This is one of the many reasons I am not a Libertarian.

2. Did you mean "unregulated" in that sentence?

Anonymous said...

Back in the 90's, when non-discrimination against gays were being fought here in Florida, one of the main arguments was that there was never a lawsuit challenging a firing based on sexual orientation. Therefore, it was all a conspiracy for the gays to get special rights.

What was so rarely mentioned is that Florida is an at-will state, and so no judge would take the case, and no lawyer would try to take it to court.

One of the many things Sullivan doesn't understand.

Mike.K.

wagonjak said...

Just fuckin' WOW tg...this one is a classic.

Anonymous said...

man..love you..been reading from the get go.
This feels like two guys sitting in deck chairs, watching the waves splash over the rails down there..knocking back a few before the water gets neck high.
Keep doing what you are doing.
I don't know if you require encouragement to keep going.. but its all I got.

gratuitous said...

But, but, but, you don't UNDERSTA-AND! It's all right for you proles and peons to get fired for no reason (it's especially fun right before the holidays, but don't tell anyone), but when one of the Masters of the Universe has to resign, well, something is clearly out of whack.

Mr. Eich probably won't miss any meals or get behind on any of his bills, though. See, unlike you waiters, office drones, and organ donors in Sector H, Eich gets this sweet severance package that the rest of you can only dream of. Suckers.

Batocchio said...

I'd have been surprised if you didn't swing at that Sullivan post! And this ties in with your previous post, of course.

As I wrote elsewhere, regarding Sullivan – he has his moments, but he can't credibly invoke Orwell and McCarthyism when he was such a McCarthyist asshole screaming thoughtcrime against people who merely questioned going to war (and many years later issued a snotty pseudo-apology claiming Gore would have attacked Iraq, too, so suck it, libs). He can't credibly claim to be a champion against bigotry beyond his own benefit when he subscribes to notions of racial superiority (and whines about his critics stifling intellectual inquiry, never mind that he can't be bothered to discern shoddy pseudoscience). Apart from a few areas, Sullivan is a pretty standard issue Tory aristocrat who sanctimoniously disdains the riffraff, and the causes he fights for that cross the party line tend to benefit him personally. In other words, he is a typical "reasonable" conservative, less noxious than some of his pals, occasionally possible to work with in narrow terms, but still awfully bad at his core.

Ema Nymton said...

.

"[A]n employer may terminate its employees at will, for any or no reason ... the employer may act peremptorily, arbitrarily, or inconsistently, without providing specific protections such as prior warning, fair procedures, objective evaluation, or preferential reassignment ... The mere existence of an employment relationship affords no expectation, protectable by law, that employment will continue, or will end only on certain conditions, unless the parties have actually adopted such terms.[6]"

And the greatest payback trap in this corrupt system is .... the employee then has to be able to explain the whole 'who', 'what', 'when', 'where', 'why', and 'how' on every job application there after!

Ya ... right. Right to Work.

Ema Nymton
~@:o?
.

Anonymous said...

This post by A. Sullivan single handedly prompted me to stop linking to his blog. A corporate executive financially supports codifying into law the discrimination of gay people and he is horrified at the backlash. Get the smelling salts. It wasn't that long ago that being gay was classified as a mental illness. The rest of us haven't forgotten.

Nice article DG, thanks.

Roger said...

Excellent blog post. thank you. I was baguely aware of most of those points, but the ground has shifted since I was in school fifty years ago. I no longer have to worry about such things, but I was re-reading John Dos Passos' "The Big Money," and he gave a quotation from Samuel Insull, who created what amounted to the Enron of the 1920s. Insull said, "The greatest tool I've found for improving the efficiency of labor is a long line of unemployed men waiting at the gate."

I've noticed recently there's quite an upsurge of interest in Marx, too.

Monster from the Id said...

Speaking of Marx, Marxism might prevail in the world now, despite the sins and follies of Communism, if Marx and Engels had not embraced the trendy intellectual atheism of their day, which insured:

(1) Every religion in the world would be forced to become anti-Marxist, merely to survive.

(2) Marxism would be denied the single most effective method ever devised for motivating human beings to sacrifice for a cause. One need not believe in the actual existence of any gods or afterlives to recognize the practical utility of religion for that purpose.

Today, Marxism is confined to a couple of pathetic backwater nations. (I do not include China, which is not pathetic, but is Communist in name only.) Meanwhile, who are the biggest thorns in the flesh of global plutocracy these days? The jihadis.

(3) Marxism could never prevail in the USA, because of the First Amendment's ban on establishment of religion--which caused the USA never to have the sort of corrupt, persecuting, warmongering, throne-and-altar, Official State Church which made Europeans into a continent of skeptics.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Id, it's times like this I wish Blogger comments had a Like button. As it is, I want to copy and paste your entire comment into a letter to the editors of my local papers (Public Opinion and The Herald-Mail, two reasons to wish for Mark Twain's "pen warmed up in Hell").

Monster from the Id said...

NT: Thanx, and feel free to quote it all you wish. I don't copyright my comments.

Mister Roboto said...

Monster:

Oh, there's one thing that remains very state-communist about China, and that's their reckless disregard for the well-being of the natural environment!