Relax! You’re not illiterate, you’re a victim with rights!!

Posted by: Phineas on January 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

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 Public Secrets)

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12 Responses to “Relax! You’re not illiterate, you’re a victim with rights!!”


  1. Me1976 says:

    So if a HS diploma is no longer required, how can a college degree be required or any training for that matter? If it’s illegal and it is a “disability” that you didn’t graduate HS, how could it not be a “disability” if you didn’t go to medical school?

  2. Tex says:

    Demanding decreasing educational requirements of U.S. citizens, while all the nations competing against us globally are demanding increasing educational requirements from their citizens, ought to result in a new American Economic Renaissance. Right? Who wouldn’t want to hire that special worker who was too unmotivated to finish high school. Just the kind of person you would like to risk your business’ future economic viability on.

    Those Obama-ites at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are brilliant! The rest of us are just not smart enough to see it.

  3. Sonja says:

    Many years ago I tutored a young man who could not read. He did have a learning disability, however he also had a high school diploma from our city. He could not even read at a first grade level.His mother was concerned that he would not be able to find a job. He was a very nice young man but did we do him any favors by giving him a high school diploma? I always wondered how he passed his classes. I agree with Tex-this country is in serious trouble if we do not do something about the level of education that is being offered in our schools. My husband’s 16 year old granddaughter cannot make change, figure percentages and she did not know that Mary Todd Lincoln was Abraham Lincoln’s wife. If you think this is an exception- guess again.

  4. PE says:

    I suspect that one flaw shared by many conservatives is the belief, deep down, that there is a limit to the idiocy of liberals and the stunts they will try to pull.

  5. Bill G says:

    “Call our attorneys at Dewey, Fleesem, and Howe”… you forgot to give their phone number… just dial 666-SHYSTER!

  6. H Hazell says:

    I plan to claim that I am unable to get a Doctorate in history because I have a disability and I’ll cite this EEOC ruling. When they respond that my claim shows a lack of imagination, I’ll respond that they’ve just verified my disability and won’t they please begin a lifetime of financial compensation.

  7. cee says:

    As a school psychologist, let me assure you that it is very possible to graduate from high school with a learning disability. A learning disability is not an excuse not to earn a HS diploma or GED.

  8. Rew says:

    I guess non-H.S. grads will be parking in the handicapped spaces at the store now. Then about 70% of the population will soon qualify for this reason and for obesity.

  9. Paul SWOH says:

    Does a homeschooled child receive a traditional HS diploma? All of the reports I have seen indicate that these kids/young adults do quite well compared to their traditionally educated peers.

  10. Drew the Infidel says:

    As a US Navy veteran and retired school teacher, I taught special education to learning disabled students who graduated with the ability to read and write and with a good work ethic. When I served a diploma was necessary; no GEDs were accepted. To employers, a diploma is more an indication of one’s ability to stick with something, not a potential brain surgeon with the intellectual capacity of Jethro Bodine.

  11. Michael Teuber says:

    Doubtless disability rights activists will cash in big. The ultimate benefits will be political and financial gain for the professional advocacy class, the cognitively and otherwise disabled will get spit. The PPC grows its power using the most vulnerable as props and sympathy for the disabled as a wedge.

  12. Carlos says:

    And again the principle of the ultimate function of any bureaucracy is proven: the first function of any bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself.

    Many laws (both constitutional and unconstitutional) have been passed with all good intention, only to be mangled by the created bureaucracy into an oppressive monstrosity. This seems to be one of them.

    (This is not a comment on the concept of the EEOC, just what it does to the original intent of the law.)