I don’t understand this but maybe, in some weird parallel universe, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) thought they could make it easier for people to get jobs. Recently they issued an informal discussion letter that said companies can’t “screen out” job applicants who don’t have a High School diploma (even though the job requirements might list a High School diploma as a requirement).
Yes, we live in strange times in the United States. The key paragraph from the letter is pasted below and you’ll see the acronym “ADA” which is shorthand for the Americans with Disability Act:
“Thus, if an employer adopts a high school diploma requirement for a job, and that requirement “screens out” an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the ADA’s definition of “disability,” the employer may not apply the standard unless it can demonstrate that the diploma requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity. The employer will not be able to make this showing, for example, if the functions in question can easily be performed by someone who does not have a diploma.”
It appears that the EEOC is trying to address the rare scenario where all the following are true:
1) An individual, who doesn’t have a High School diploma, is excluded from a job because of the High School diploma job requirement.
2) The individual couldn’t graduate from High School because of a disability recognized by the ADA.
3) The individual has the skill set, aptitude and experience to perform the job.
The EEOC letter provides an “out” for companies if the job really does require a certain education (and not just a piece of paper) and the company can wave this new rule if they “can demonstrate that the diploma requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity.”
But are we ready to fight those legal battles for every job description in the United States that requires a High School Diploma?
You can see where this is going. Lawyers all over the country will be busy on this and forcing companies to provide evidence why a high school diploma is needed to operate a CNC machine, sell merchandise or work on a manufacturing floor. What about the Military? Will they be forced to take individuals who don’t have a High School diploma?
Companies will spend countless hours engaged in non value-added pursuits fighting these lawsuits or working to prevent these lawsuits that will all be based on this seemingly innocent EEOC letter. Can you imagine the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines having to justify why every job that exists in these branches of service requires a High School diploma?
Does it stop here? Will people be able to become doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers without having college degrees in those respective majors?
Imagine the possibilities – Barry drank too much alcohol in college (alcoholism is considered a disability under the ADA) so that prevented him from finishing Medical School but he’s seen lots of shows on TV so he deserves to get the Cardiothoracic Surgeon position. He’ll need the hospital to provide his Malpractice Insurance and it might be a little higher than the hospital is accustomed to. Or you can fight his lawyers in court, your call.
Will this further speed up our race to the bottom with regard to education levels in the United States? Where is the motivation to stay in school and earn your diploma and learn the very basic educational tools that come along with that hard work?
And if a High School diploma isn’t needed, can we abolish the Department of Education now?
When will this business killing over regulation stop? Hopefully on 20-JAN-2013!