An article in the Herald from last week, about employers actively discriminating against those who choose not to drive to work, almost slipped past me, but certainly got me pretty worked up when reading it.
Employers are rejecting migrant job-seekers without cars as they have little faith in public transport delivering them to work on time, Auckland Transport has been told.
Ellerslie Residents Association chairman Bryan Johnson, who runs a consultancy helping new migrants, told a hearings panel considering more than 700 submissions on a new public transport plan that many migrants for whom he was trying to find work were turned down by employers because they did not have their own vehicles.
“[They say] if you rely on public transport to come to our business, we don’t want to employ you because it is not reliable.”
For a start, this is a pretty bad indictment of Auckland’s public transport system – or perhaps more specifically an indictment of Auckland Transport’s inability to tell the general public how the PT system has actually improved a lot in the past few years.
But perhaps more specifically I wonder whether this kind of activity, employers actively turning down people who don’t have their own vehicles, should be illegal. I can understand that getting to work on time is very important and I also understand that the PT system can be unreliable at times, but surely it’s the responsibility of the employee to ensure that they find a way of making the situation work for them (perhaps they catch an earlier service to make sure they’re on time).
Furthermore, the Auckland road system can be pretty unreliable at times too. On a rainy day it can often take twice as long to get somewhere as it would on a fine day because of the traffic. On those days I guess people make sure they leave earlier, or if they are late then they suffer the consequences – but I don’t think you’ll see employers refusing to hire someone because they live in a certain area which suffers from bad congestion.
It’d be good to see some follow up on this through the Human Rights Commission to test the legalities.