Whatever else he said in his news conference on the economy last week, President Obama did acknowledge that the government must take care to avoid any policy that “further crimps the desire of companies to hire more people.” If the president really wants to end anti-employment policies, the best place to start would be his own Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC exists to guard against discrimination in the workplace. As Justice Clarence Thomas, a former EEOC chairman, once said, “In a perfect world, you don’t need EEOC [but] this is not a perfect world.” Of all the federal agencies that deserve our support, “EEOC is at the top of that list.”
Unfortunately, a recent memo released by the EEOC raises serious doubts about the agency’s current policies. According to its attorneys, companies risk federal prosecution under the Americans with Disabilities Act if they seek out job applicants with high-school diplomas.
More specifically, the EEOC attorneys assert that a company should not screen out applicants without high school diplomas, unless the company is ready to prove that the diploma requirement is consistent with “business necessity.” And even then, the company also must prove that an applicant without a diploma actually lacks the skills necessary to carry out the job’s “essential functions.” The legal problem, the EEOC says, is discrimination against people with learning disabilities.
This astonishing requirement places an enormous burden on employers, who would either have to stop screening on the basis of diplomas, or go to great pains to prove that each applicant without a diploma is unqualified.
Read More at The Washington Times. C. Boyden Gray.
Photo Credit: The US Army Creative Commons