Bragging about abusing a worker

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THERE was a disturbing video clip in circulation recently about an employer who was bragging to his friends about abusing one of his workers by denying him his salary. I had to see the video clip more than once to make sure that what I had heard was just that and not something different. And once I ascertained that the boastful claim was indeed the same I was left flabbergasted at his callousness.

Callous, I say, because the type of abuse this employer enforced on his worker is similar to the action of a prison guard on one of the incarcerated under him in a Third World, under developed country. What was shocking, in the clip, was the fact that this man was totally frivolous while brazenly recounting the story — as if it was a joke. What was more shocking was that his friends too were inured to the worker’s hardship and were all laughing about it.

This employer told the story while he was on a picnic with his friends. It goes like this: It starts off with him stating that he hired an Egyptian worker for a particular job. When the job was done the worker asked for his money, to which the employer said: ‘I simply told him that there was no money for him’. The worker kept coming every day demanding payment and the employer said he, every day, denied him his dues. What was mind-boggling was the employer proudly stated that he had the money but he did not wanted to pay him. He even bragged about the fact that the worker was small and puny and himself huge and tall and in the event the worker became physical he would be easily able to subdue him.

It was here that there came a twitch in the tale. After initially giving him the runaround, the employer openly told the worker that he would not give him any money. Frustrated by the employer’s reaction, the worker vented his frustration by insulting the employer. Fed up with the worker’s constant demand for money followed by the insults, the employer decided to beat him.



In his story, he said, that he punched the worker multiple times and slammed him to the ground and began slapping his face. The worker, in a desperate attempt hit back, by biting the hand of the employer and never let go.



The employer, in the midst of the narrative, started laughing, saying that he could not free his hand from the worker’s mouth try what may. What was appalling was that his friends too were laughing so hard that it seemed they found the whole story uproarious rather than tragic. The story then wended its way to the expected ending. The worker held hard to the employer’s hand for a long time until police came and separated them.



What was more outrageous about this story is that it happened during the month of Ramadan and the employer was also laughing about the fact that he had to eat with one hand, when he was breaking his fast, for the rest of Ramadan.



It is really sad that none of those who were laughing at what they saw was a ‘funny story’ — including the one who was videotaping it — did not see the heart of the matter. None of them condemned their friend’s action nor castigated him for his chicanery of not paying the man his dues. Even worse, none of them thought it appropriate to advice their friend not to take advantage of the less fortunate.



The employer, revealed a real cruel streak in him, for not only he deceived the worker by not paying him, he also made him repeatedly come for his pay only to see him suffer. In addition he had the gumption to tell the story as if it was a comedy to be laughed about. It really got me thinking of how many such heartless employers are out there. It also made me wonder, how many people like this Egyptian worker are suffering at the hands of their employer?



The good thing about this tragedy is that the police identified the employer in the video and arrested him. According to news reports, the employer turned out to be an Arab expat. This man came out admitting that he was trying to tell his friend a funny story while having a good time out, which is exactly what a man, in my opinion, would say when he is cornered and exposed.



Such people should be familiar with the Prophet’s (pbuh) saying when it comes to the weak and wrongfully suppressed; Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.” When it comes to payment, such people should memorize the Prophet’s saying, “Give the worker his wages before his sweat dries.” Such workers are the weakest link and they may not stand a chance against a powerful employer or sponsor. The only thing we need is to fear Allah and show that by treating the underprivileged and suppressed the mercy and good treatment they deserve.



I end here with another of our Prophet’s saying, On the authority of Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him) is that among the sayings he relates from his Lord (may He be glorified) is that He said: O My servants, I have forbidden injustice for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.



— The writer can be reached at mahmad@saudigazette.com.sa Twitter: @anajeddawi_eng


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