Free Markets, Free People

disability

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?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO