• I thought screening out those who are, ehm, lazy or stupid was the point of the job application process.

  • The EEOC’s rules still allow employers to screen for bona fide occupational qualifications. Why is everyone pretending the EEOC is saying otherwise? Even the janitor example in the article has someone implying that the degree is necessary to prevent everyone dying from the combination of bleach and ammonia. If that’s true, it’s still legit. If it’s just a pretense, then I don’t see the harm from ignoring it.

    Or were we saying that the ADA and the ADAAA are themselves the problem? If so, that’s on Congress, not on the EEOC.

  • why don’t we just issue everyone with a PhD once they turn 18. That way we’ll all be equal and nobody will feel left out.

  • If Bill knows enough to adduce the BFOQ exception, he should also know that most legal sources describe it as a “rare,” “narrow,” “difficult” defense for employers to assert. E.g.: http://www.halloran-sage.com/Knowledge/articleDetail.aspx?storyid=2055 http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/employment-employer/employment-employer-discrimination/employment-employer-discrimination-laws-exceptions.html
    That’s probably why commentators on both sides about the recent EEOC letter have not had more to say about it.

  • If it’s just a pretense, then I don’t see the harm from ignoring it.

    I’ll tell you the harm Bill.

    The harm is it takes away a business owner’s right to hire whom they want. It takes away their right to set the bar at what they think are qualifications for a job. In essence, having a government agency “approve” of the reasons a business has for a qualification means the government has control of the business – not the owner.

    It means that someone in some office who has most likely never worked in an industry or never had to hire anyone is making a decision against the will, wishes, experience and expertise of the business owner.

    Furthermore it “lowers the floor” rather than “raises the ceiling.” For example, assume I have a business making widgets. In my experience, people with no high school diploma do not work out well when it comes to making widgets. A person with a high school diploma seems to be okay making widgets, but there are issues sometimes. However, I have never had an issue with a person with a college degree making widgets. Their work is consistent, they show up on time, etc. In short, the people with a college degree perform better at the same job doing the same tasks as someone without a High School diploma.

    Now tell me why I shouldn’t be able to make a college degree a requirement for my widget making company? If I am willing to pay what it takes to get the better people, what business is it of any government to say “you have to hire a worker because a college degree is not an integral part of the job?”

  • @gitarcarver: I’m wholly sympathetic to your example. But…

    In my work with the federal government, I’ve seen ‘credentialism’ creep ever higher. More than half the jobs I supervised called for degrees I never had or was interested in earning. HR and Personnel offices use credentials to escape the necessity to actually think about the people they may or may not hire.

    I’ve had too many knock down-drag out fights with HR to hire the person who actually had the skills to fill a job rather than the one who looked right on paper. Never once have I had a problem with my hires forced over HR documentary requirements. I’ve had plenty of problems with employees approved and/or assigned by HR who just happened to have serious medical, substance abuse, and psychological issues that popped up in the job and directly affected job performance.

    Now, I realize that some of these hires/assignments were made under the aegis of medical privacy or ADA requirements. But employees with long records of poor performance are still forced upon supervisors. You know the adage about how hard it is to fire a federal employee? It’s true and it’s hard even to get them re-assigned to a job where they might function better.

  • It looks like the EEOC has been following that rule for quite a while in its own hiring.

  • Excellent points gitarcaver. The EEOC rules will force business owners to hire the least competent workers or risk being sued by them. The fact that that one can find a few people without a high school diploma who may be able to do the job should not be the criteria for hiring someone. The criteria should be to hire the best people for the job not the worst people. If the person forced on the business owner does not work out it is the business owner and not the government bureaucrat who suffers. If the bureaucrat was held personally responsible for the performance of the person, I bet they would not be so anxious to force businesses to hire workers who are not qualified for the job .

  • John,

    Whether “credentialism” is creeping is not an issue to me as long as the privately owned company has the right to decide the requirements for a job.

    At the same tine, if a company says “hey, this is a good person that can do the job,” I have no problem with that as it is the company / owner making the decision.

    My concern is when the government tells a private company who they have to hire and what qualifications are relevant.

  • The proper response is, of course, for business to stop putting words on their products and instead put icons. “Mr Yuck” means it’s poison, a picture of a shiny window means it’s glass cleaner, a red circle means it shouldn’t be mixed with anything that has a blue triangle.

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