Aggressive Employers Face Stronger Punishment
21 March, 2013
Aggressive Employers Face Stronger Punishment
Aggressive employers, prone to force employees to quit under allegedly self-decision, face stronger punishment. Business thinks the problem is not the term but the execution of this preventive remedy. Georgian parliament has passed an amendment to the criminal code of Georgia adding a new paragraph stipulating that if an employer fires a person illegally or forces an employee to quit under pressure the action will be assessed as a criminal act and be punished by fines, as well as up
to 2-year imprisonment plus deprivation the post or the right of activity for 3 years. When this initiative was announced private sector became discontent. However, Mikheil Kordzakhia, Vice-President of the Association of Georgian Employers (AGE), making the said preventive remedy stronger is redundant as Georgian criminal code did already include similar paragraph with milder punishment term: it envisaged 1-year imprisonment instead of the now revised 2-year.
“There is nothing new in the paragraph preventing forceful action of one person over another person on purpose to compel the victim to commit an undesired action. Similar action was already defined as criminal and envisaged to be punished by fines and imprisonment. This new paragraph just makes this punishment stronger by enhancement the imprisonment term to 2 years and deprivation of the executive position the convicted person occupied during the crime. I cannot understand why it was so necessary to make this term stronger while the problem is not the preventive measure as such but execution of this preventive measure so as to combat this vicious practice of compelling people to leave their working places,” Kordzakhia said in the interview to Georgian Journal. He presumes this here stronger remedy aims on public rather than the private sector as far as it is very unlikely that business is implementing pressure on employees to force them quit. This practice is more characteristic to public sector however the stringent new preventive paragraph may have a negative repercussion on private business too. Therefore government or its legislative part in this case had to involve private sector and non-governmental in consultations prior initiating the questioned preventive paragraph in criminal code.
“I do not claim it will have a huge negative effect but some very careful investors while researching our business climate may not like the general legislative backgrounds and refrain to come here. There must be a dialogue between the governmental, non-governmental and private sector before drafting such preventions,” Kordzakhia said. “We had better sit down all together and discuss the execution mechanism how to prevent forceful actions through court or may be through mediation bypassing the court so as to reach the effective result. Making preventive mechanism stronger is no result in fact as it already did exist. It was milder but it was preventive and besides the new labor code also regulates the forceful retirement issue.”
Irakli Petriashvili, Chairperson of United Trade Union of Georgia, finds the new preventive paragraph acceptable to insure stability and peace in the country. According to him, this initiative protects employees from the pressure practiced for years and exercised even today when they were compelled to quit their workplace based on their own request so as employees might escape the miserable compensations envisaged by law. Therefore, stronger remedy makes employees feel more dignified, Petriashvili said.
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