It probably isn’t a shock to hear that Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct, isn’t a very nice boss. Well now a recent summons before parliament can prove those suspicions. Not only were staff often being paid an illegal wage there is also evidence of:
– Staff living in fear of their jobs
– Incidents of ambulances being called out, including to deal with miscarriages and a birth
– Staff being docked pay for being one minute late for work
– Harsh punishments for chatting and long toilet breaks
– Staff being regularly searched in case of theft
– Staff not being allowed to wear over 802 brands of clothing to work
– Staff being expected to walk for miles each day
– Allegations of temporary staff being awarded full time positions in exchange for sexual favours
Mr Ashley’s defence was that he ‘was not Santa Claus’ and that he was hard working businessman who couldn’t keep on top of everything happening in his business.
The lesson for any employer from this scandal is that in any business, particularly a big one, malpractice and poor ethics will always come to the public’s attention. It is up to HR to set a strategic vision on values and behaviours and then use HR processes to ensure those values are recognised and adhered to.