Free Markets, Free People

Is being a slacker now a disability?

The regulatory state again finds a new way to try to handicap businesses.  This time it is the EEOC:

Employers are facing more uncertainty in the wake of a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warning them that requiring a high school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The development also has some wondering whether the agency’s advice will result in an educational backlash by creating less of an incentive for some high school students to graduate.

The “informal discussion letter” from the EEOC said an employer’s requirement of a high school diploma, long a standard criterion for screening potential employees, must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” The letter was posted on the commission’s website on Dec. 2.

Job related things like a modicum of assurance, supposedly offered by high school completion, that a candidate might be able to read and write? 

And if that isn’t a necessity anymore, then why do it.  Of course that means no college so no studying OWS for credit, but hey, Wal-Mart may have to take you.

Many, many, many people, upon the passage of the feel good Americans With Disabilities Act warned that stupidity such as this was the inevitable and logical end game of the regulators. 

As you can see, and as usual, they were right.

Maria Greco Danaher, a lawyer with the labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins, said the EEOC letter means that employers must determine whether job applicants whose learning disabilities kept them from obtaining diplomas can perform the essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation. She said the development is “worthy of notice” for employers.

“While an employer is not required to ‘prefer’ a learning-disabled applicant over other applicants with more extensive qualifications, it is clear that the EEOC is informing employers that disabled individuals cannot be excluded from consideration for employment based upon artificial barriers in the form of inflexible qualification standards,” she wrote in a blog post.

So, it is the job of the company, according to Danaher, to make these sorts of determinations because the EEOC thinks it is discriminatory to simply require a high school diploma which has always been used to filter candidates?

One assumes then that requiring a college degree would fall in the same category, no?  I mean most of those who require it, other than wanting someone who has demonstrated the intelligence and perseverance to complete a prescribed course of study satisfactorily (and the sort of positive traits that relate to work that such an accomplishment brings), really have no “job related” requirements except the usual: the ability write, read and do basic math.  How dare they?

This is an “informal discussion letter”, better known among those who follow politics as a “trial balloon”.  The EEOC has every intention of trying to make this a regulation.  What they’re doing now is similar to the “public comment” portion that is supposed to give the public the ability to point out the huge downside of their proposal before they make it a regulation anyway.

Oh, and about that incentive to finish high school being lessened by something like this?  Hand wave away:

“No, we don’t think the regulation would discourage people from obtaining high school diplomas,” said Peggy Mastroianni, legal counsel for the EEOC. “People are aware that they need all the education they can get.”

Are they?  That explains the 8% drop out rate I guess.  But look at that statement.  Pure assertion on both ends of it.  “We don’t think” … famous last words of the stereotypical bureaucrat.  There’s never been a regulation that had unintended consequences, has there?


Twitter: @McQandO

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13 Responses to Is being a slacker now a disability?

  • “We don’t think” …

    Actually, they DO, and even rather creatively. It is an axiom of mine that bureaucrats HAVE to expand their little bailiwick. They have to be in metastasis, or they are dying.

    It is people like the agency lawyers, eager to be the person who expanded the reach of a stupid, ill-drafted law, who are most dangerous in our over-powered governmentSSSSS. (They get offered positions in the academe when they have that cred, see?)

    • @Ragspierre. We need to have the people responsible for an attempt to expand their function, sign for that expansion. If it turns out that expansion is as useless as most, those responsible will be fired. I suspect that will cut down on those attempts.

      • @rickcaird While your suggestion would be fine, I have never seen it implemented. Another of those “bureaucracy axioms” is that they will expend HUGE sums in defending their fluck ups, whereas most market organizations get you immediate negative feed-back.

        I have concluded that the only solution is to take power away. Kill off every bureaucratic organization possible.

  • Of course, getting a job in the EEOC bureaucracy requires at least a BA in Art History so you can be as worthless as possible for the job function.

  • “People are aware that they need all the education they can get.”

    There speaks someone who has never actually worked in a high school. I’ve worked for the second-largest school district in the US for the better part of two decades, all of that time in secondary schools, and I can state categorically that Ms. Mastroianni has no freakin’ clue what she’s talking about. Maybe 10% of junior and high school students are there because they genuinely value learning (and, at the risk of stereotyping, most of them have last names like Lee and Kim). Another 10% hate it and have to be dragged in, sometimes literally in chains. The vast majority are there because of some combination of A – they’re told they have to be and B – that’s where their friends are. They don’t love school and they don’t hate it. They have no sense of needing it because they have no concept of tomorrow. They’re /teenagers/. Worse, they’re /modern/ teenagers, who have been brought up to believe that the world is just obliged to provide for them.

    That’s not even touching on the subjects of how little education of any value actually goes into a high school diploma and how laughably easy it is to get one. Those are entire rants of their own.

  • We need a violent revolution. nothing but a lot of spilled blood will be enough to change this and restore sanity. We need ten thousand politicians and bureaucrats hanging on meat-hooks.

  • “Jeanne Goldberg, a senior lawyer/adviser at the agency, said the issue would come up only when high school graduation standards are not related to a specific job.

    “This would never arise when the high school diploma is in fact necessary to do a job,” she said.”

    I suppose that will be determined by the bureaucrats.

  • A little off subject, but

    I do not like this new $&*%%* format Sam-I-am.
    I do not like its color.
    I do not like its format.
    I do not like having to have another %$**%&^(* password.
    I am not a very happy camper, Sam-I-am.

  • Put this right next to “Modern Depression” (i.e. the inability of workers to function when told by their bosses that they aren’t measuring up) as the latest infliction.

    • @Neo_ Ew, cool, a new word is born (or at least a new use of an existing word)!!! I LOVE those. “Infliction”: an affliction resulting from infection.

      The English language is wonderfully plastic! That is impossible to refudiate!

  • … but they are making history … “A California law will add gays and lesbians and people with disabilities to the list of social and ethnic groups whose contributions must be taught in history lessons in public schools. The law also bans teaching materials that reflect poorly on gays or particular religions.”