Have you been a victim of ERMS – a secret blacklist preventing some people getting jobs?
Summary: Several years back there was a story floating around that a secret blacklist existed, preventing experienced, well-qualified workers from getting jobs on major resource and construction projects around Australia based on vendetta, payback and irrational behaviour of disgruntled bosses.....
The system - known as ERMS (Employment Relations Management System) was intended to check the qualifications of prospective employees but, instead, was providing third parties with information about a wider set of parameters with a blacklisting eventuating, sometimes it was said without any real substance.
I’ve heard just yesterday through someone working in one of the oil & gas states of Australia, that this system still exists.
Around then, the company that managed ERMS, Bright People Technologies, had denied the existence of such a blacklist. The recent web site for Bright People Technologies claims that the “product suite is used by more than 3,500 companies nationally to reduce costs, deliver improved operational efficiency and mitigate workforce risk”. So, based on its own claim on its web site, it is a system used by a lot of companies across Australia.
Examples of previous ERMA blacklisting were found through a Facebook listing where comments have included:
“I feel that I have been black listed on ERMS from my last job at Rio Tinto. It may not have been them but maybe my contractor I worked for. I know the reason if I have. I am a safety advisor and flagged up a bullying case that everybody tried to hide. The person involved was so distressed and did not know where to turn to. I took her to the local hospital as no Management at work seemed to care and the doctor said it was one of the worst cases he had seen of harassment and bullying in the workplace. This person had mouth ulcers, sores developing on her head and severe heart palpitations. She has been off work for 6 months now and still trying to recover. At the time I flagged it and told the doctor it was a workers compensation claim. It turned into a major issue. Her boss was sacked, when he was trying to help as well. I was demobilized from site, before the contract ended shortly after this. I am finding it hard to get another job. I have been in construction for 15 years and doing safety for 7 years. I too, feel like I have been put on the ERMS system (black listed), and all I was doing, was my job”
“I would like to find out is there a blacklist, ERMS (Electronic Management Recruitment System) because I was sacked from Monadelphous and haven’t been able to get hired since.”
“ERMS … can be used against an individual. "Black list " does exist, maybe not officially. Was on the " black list " for a few years myself had to move interstate to start again. Just need one supervisor to not like you, they make a comment on your file and you are stuffed. Am back working now on a site that doesn't use ERMS, I'm happy, company's happy and it's all going great. One of the reasons I left construction”
“Just applied for two jobs in Darwin. I'm a professional in my field of work with a great track record. I’ve been in my line of work for 20 plus years. It seems I'm not allowed on the Itchies project Darwin yet agc and Civmec put me thru medicals, done reference checks waiting to mobilise both times, then suddenly sorry the client won't allow you on site. #%#? Am I on erms and unaware of it???? Any help would be good.”
“We are a company based in SA that has the same initials as Erms- the amount of time I spend taking calls from ppl who have been 'blacklisted' by the ERMS database defies belief, on average 10 -15 calls a day - I have concerns about the amount of ppl who have been blacklisted by this database, also it appears that the database administrators lack transparency in allowing ppl listed to enquire about their records - if the online professional would like to contact me about this issue, please do!”
“In some cases these workers have gone through an induction stage and have then been told they haven't got a job (because of being blacklisted via ERMS). ----- nothing like it happened when he was employed on sites in New South Wales despite his union involvement there.”
“I believe I am on the list because any jobs that I apply for with companies that use this mechanism reply almost straight away telling me I have not been successful. This is very rare (the quick response) as usually there is either no response or an offer of employment from any potential employer that does not use this system. I also have had several face to face interviews and been told that all I needed was ERMS approval, filled out the forms and then been told I have been denied ERMS approval.
“The reason I am on the list is because I refused to do a task that was contrary to site safety rules and Government legislation/regulation was an unlawful/unsafe direction and I was given the ultimatum to perform the task or my employment would be terminated. I gave the supervisor notice to quit and he told me he was going to put the incident on my permanent work performance record (his version).”
So the question is - how prevalent was this when it was in full force years back and how valid is this type of blacklisting system now? Especially with such strict Privacy Laws which should mitigate this being done, given huge penalties which can be slugged on the companies through the vicarious liability of their managers? Email me under complete confidentiality at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information about this.