Just because you failed to get your high school diploma or go back for a GED, don’t worry. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said that employers who require a high-school diploma of applicants may be violating the Americans with Disabilities Act:
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.
Employers could run afoul of the ADA if their requirement of a high school diploma “‘screens out’ an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the ADA’s definition of ‘disability,'” the EEOC explained.
The commission’s advice, which does not carry the force of law, is raising alarms among employment-law professionals, who say it could carry far-reaching implications for businesses.
The EEOC of course disputes that this will have any far reaching affect in hiring practices or discouraging people from finishing high school. But… we know better. When a government regulatory agency rumbles, the first thing businesses do is try to figure out how to comply so they can avoid being sued. In this case, it would mean reevaluating each position to see if it really, really required a high school diploma to perform. And that costs money that could otherwise be required to expand a business and hire more people.
And I can already imagine the late-night commercials from plaintiff’s lawyers lining up for the inevitable discrimination lawsuits (and settlement fees).
“No job? No diploma? No problem! Call our attorneys at Dewey, Fleesem, and Howe, where we’re fighting for your rights!”
Now some may say I’m being unfair, because the EEOC’s discussion letter is aimed at discrimination against people whose disabilities prevent them from finishing high school. Yeah, well, I think I have a reason to be skeptical of the definition of “disability” when that same EEOC can define alcoholism as a protected disability and sue employers to prevent them from firing drunk truck drivers.
While a high school diploma isn’t worth what it used to be, having become so common, it does still demonstrate a basic level of achievement and education; it doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to require one for most jobs. We’re not talking about discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or religion, but an assumed minimum set of skills and learning ability.
What does seem unreasonable is the further expansion of government bureaucracy into the everyday workings of the economy, a place where it causes more problems than it ever fixes.
via The Jawa Report
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)