Star Wars: the Force Awakens – A film review from a HR perspective

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Posted in:HR and Employment|December 18, 2015 | Join the mailing list

As I was sat in the cinema munching on my popcorn watching Star Wars: the Force Awakens I started to ponder over what it would be like to work in their galaxy.

The new Star Wars film has had a few changes. The Rebel Alliance has been replaced by ‘the Resistance’ and the Galactic Empire has been renamed ‘the First Order’.

Secondly, there are old and new characters: both Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher (who’s had a promotion from Princess Leia to General Leia) have made a reprise.  Newcomers Daisy Ridley (a young Keira Knightley look-a-like) and Mark Driver (effectively Darth
Vader’s successor who has a striking resemblance to Laurence Llewelyn Bowen –with his mask off obviously!) manage to make their mark.

But the one constant in the film franchise is the First Order (and its predecessors) which maintains the prize for being the galaxy’s worst employer.

Now obviously, as the employer, there must be a certain degree of control for there to be an employer and employee relationship; as
MacKenna J said in Ready-Mixed Concrete case, “control includes the power of deciding the thing to be done, the way in which it shall be done, the means to be
employed in doing it, and the time when and the place where it shall be done”. MacKenna J made it clear that all these factors need to be considered together to determine whether one party has control to a sufficient degree for them to be ‘master’ and the
other ‘servant’.

There’s no question the roles ‘master’ (The First Order) and ‘servant’ (Stormtrooper) exist in this film.

Imagine the job vacancy for a Stormtrooper on LinkedIn:

“Due to a high turnover of staff a powerful conglomerate seeks applications for the position of Stormtrooper.  You will be expected to travel long distances
(one-way) and work long hours (i.e you will work more than the Working Time directive of 48 hours per week for no additional pay). 

You will also be expected to make substantial sacrifices for your employer. You will not be able to wear you own clothes and must wear the uniform provided.

Attractive benefits package includes free accommodation and food.”

Applications to Supreme Leader Snoke, for and on behalf of the First Order.

I pity whoever is working in the HR department for the First Order.  The grievances and constructive dismissal cases must be titanic.  In the film, a Stormtrooper defector (employee number FN-2187- outside of work referred
to as Finn) has had enough of working for the First Order; the last straw occurs when he, and his colleagues (hundreds of Stormtroopers), are sent to seize a small village inhabited by families and BB-8 (an upgrade droid of C-3PO).  Finn decides to down tools
(well his gun) on the job and goes AWOL; he flees to a planet called Jakku where he stumbles into Rey (played by Daisy Ridley).  If there was a prize for the best employee she would win it; committed, bright and loyal.  Finn and Rey join forces with the Resistance
to seek revenge on the First Order.

In the end, and typical of most films, good defeats evil; in other words, if you look after your staff they will look after you.

May the force be with you.

(The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice
should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.)

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