Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The BFOQ/HS Diploma Kerfuffle

This is not as simple-minded/black-and-white as some RadioMouths would have it.

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.  --AOSHQ quoting WaTimes

There are really two components to the EEOC letter.  First one is the far more important one:  "Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications" (BFOQ.)  Under typical EEOC policy, a business must justify its hiring decisions by demonstrating that Requirement X, Y, or Z is, in fact, a BFOQ.  In this case, the question is whether one can perform the duties of the job WITHOUT a high-school diploma.

Maybe, maybe not.  It's up to the employer to demonstrate that.  There are a number of manufacturing firms who utilize "pictographs" of assemblies, so their assembly-line employees can (literally) see what they should be doing at Stage One, Stage, Two, (etc.)  Does that require a HS diploma for success?  Maybe, maybe not.

(It certainly DOES allow those employers to hire people who are not fluent in English, by the way.)

The second issue is whether a disability which prevents gaining a HS diploma triggers ADA coverage, which then triggers the first question (above.)  That's not an easy call, and it is an interesting discussion.

It is NOT just a matter of "Gummint destroying standards." 

Let's put it this way:  would you prefer that this individual be working in a productive job, even if low-paid, or finding his pin-money through welfare or criminal activity?


jimspice said...

I hadn't heard the phrase "pin money" in like 30 years, and I've heard it twice in as many days. Weird when stuff like that happens.

Dad29 said...

You're beginning to hang around with super-annuated folks, Jim.

May as well check into false teeth, canes, and rockers.