Truthfulness in the Workforce

First Published: 2000-06-19

The Employment Act dated May 2000 is an updated version of the proposed Minimum Standards Act circulated in January 2000. It has one addition that every businessman doing or contemplating doing business in the Bahamas is likely to find objectionable. That relates to finger printing, the use of lie detectors and any form of screening or testing.

The Act states that no employer shall require–

  • “Any person, as a requirement for employment, to furnish a set of his finger prints or take a lie detector test”, nor shall he require

  • “Any employee to take any form of mechanical, electrical or computer testing or screening” to establish either “his identity or truthfulness.”

The businessman will be outlawed from using effective techniques to determine the honesty of an actual or potential employee. Anyone so doing is subject to a fine of $5,000.

Most business managers consider this outrageous because theft of company assets is such a large problem. Pilferage in the Bahamian retail trade, for instance, is five times that in the United States. The financial community will not discuss their problems in this regard… but… the problem exists. For example, several years ago a Bahamian bank officer… certainly not one of society-s downtrodden… apparently stole $750,000 from the bank-s Bahamian employee pension fund. To this day both the criminal and civil cases remain stalled in the legal system.

How can Bahamian business compete in the global market place if the law of the land protects thieves? This is the question that the politicians should address.

And there is a profound irony in this because the casinos are exempted from these prohibitions because of Part XI Section 73 of the Lotteries and Gaming Act. These sate that–

  • Any person seeking an employment permit from the Gaming Board and who makes a statement that is false is subject a fine of not more than $600, and

  • All applicants for work in the casinos must furnish fingerprints.

This just compounds the businessman-s puzzlement and/or outrage.

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