Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Out of the Loop

Which, it would appear, is what I've most decidedly been as of late.

Not that I don't have my reasons, of course [like working flat out within the window of a six-month funding opportunity to develop my new business, while, of course, still keeping the old business (to say nothing of life) afloat] but that does nothing to change the fact that I'm often feeling a week day late and a hundred dollar short when it comes to keeping up with current events lately.

Such as, for example, when I came across reference to President Obama's proposed plan to protect the unemployed against a hiring bias by prohibiting employers from discriminating against job applicants because they are ... well ... unemployed.

Say what? Is this for real? Apparently so.
Under the proposal, it would be “an unlawful employment practice” if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person “because of the individual’s status as unemployed.”

Unsuccessful job applicants could sue and recover damages for violations, just as when an employer discriminates on the basis of a person’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
First of all, I had no clue that this was even an issue, even occurring at all. Although I suppose that's what tends to happen when you cocoon yourself in your own little world, no?

Still, putting aside the cracks about this simply being a make-work project for trial lawyers who don't have enough work, this makes me shake my head on oh so many levels.

First things first, I have to ask, just how stupid are employers? 

Why would any employer intentionally risk shooting itself in the foot by basing hiring decisions simply on the fact that a person is unemployed or has been unemployed for a certain amount of time? 

Skills are skills and you either have them or you don't.  Just because you haven't been working for a while, whether from being laid off due to a sluggish economy or voluntarily removing yourself from the workplace for some period for personal/family reasons (to care for a sick relative, for example) doesn't change the fact that you're either qualified for a particular position or you're not.

I can certainly see the argument that someone who is currently employed will most likely have more up-to-date skills than someone who has been out of the workplace for an extended period (for whatever reason). That's a valid consideration.  But the relevance of that would seem to me to depend on how long a particular person has been unemployed. Not simply the fact that they are unemployed.  So is this actually an issue? For real?

Moving beyond that disconnect, I come to the legitimacy validity sensibleness of President Obama's proposed legislation.  Sorry, but kind of another WTF moment...

I'm pretty confident in saying that most industrialized countries (including the US) already offer protection in some form from discriminatory employment practices that have a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin unless an employer can show that the particular practice is  what we in Canada like to refer to as a BFOR (bona fide occupational requirement).

But we tend to protect potential employees on the basis of what are generally considered "inalienable characteristics" , in other words, characteristics that an individual has no choice or control over, such as their gender, their race, whether or not they have a disability...

Are they now proposing to create a new “protected class” ... the unemployed? Really?

That seems out of whack enough on its own, without even considering the potential consequences of such a move.  I mean, let's face it, American society (in particular) is simply just not litigious enough, right?/sarcasm off.

Quite the message that - "if you’re unemployed and you go to apply for a job, and you’re not hired for that job, see a lawyer".

Well, like I said, always good news for the litigation bar, I suppose.

Then, this evening, checking out what was new at Lex's (something I seem to do far too rarely these days), I came across this - protesters have been occupying the financial district in New York in opposition of "corporate greed? For the past three weeks?

And they have their own website?

And, and, and ... they could be like the Tea Party of the Left?

Wow... I mean, who knew?! Well, obviously not me ...

Left. Right. Is there actually a Centre? 

My apologies to my American friends but, say what you will, you have to admit that they're always entertaining, if nothing else... 

Although I must say, this commentary on their Declaration of Grievances Demands does strike a chord with me. (The commentary, that is. More so than the Declaration.)

For what that's worth.  Which I imagine is not that much, seeing as how woefully uninformed I appear to be at the moment.

Forget keeping up with the Jones'. This girl is struggling to keep up with The World.