Anti-slavery laws much needed in wake of Gloriavale case
By John Farrow | Otago Daily Times |
The chief judge of the Employment Court’s recent declaration that Serenity Pilgrim and other women in the Gloriavale community were employees is vaguely unsettling.
It’s not that the decision isn’t just. It’s not that the decision isn’t well reasoned. It’s not that the decision isn’t well articulated.
The real problem is that the decision highlights the inadequacy of our legislation. The Employment Court was required to determine whether the women were employees or as argued by the Gloriavale patriarchy, volunteers.
Section 6 of the Employment Relations Act sets out the meaning of “employee”. It includes home-workers and excludes volunteers. It spells out that the court must determine the real nature of the relationship between the parties. The analysis includes consideration of all relevant matters including matters that indicate the intention of the parties. A number of tests have been developed to assess the real nature of the relationship between the parties. These include integration, intention, control, fundamental/economic reality and industry practice.
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