Closing Equal Employment Opportunity Loopholes

Mr. President, if you want to help fix unemployment in this country, and get good people that want to work back in jobs, how about we fix bullshit discrimination loopholes.

Under Equal Employment Opportunity laws, employers currently cannot discriminate based on:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Equal compensation
  • Genetic Information
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race/Color
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Harassment

Lets add a few more to the list like lack of Facebook / online presence and credit history.

Apparently businesses have been asking potential job candidates to show them their Facebook pages that are password protected, or even going as far as to ask them for their password so they can log in as you and snoop on their own. This is a huge privacy issue… but employers get away with it. It’s akin to giving them the keys to your house and allowing them to snoop around. The job market is tough, if you tell them no, they’ll just find someone else who will gladly give up their privacy in an attempt to get a job.

On top of that, apparently they’re now determining eligibility based on whether you even have social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you don’t the assumption is that you have something to hide or are antisocial and you’re therefore a liability. This is ridiculously absurd and should never be a factor for general employment. Obviously if you’re going for a marketing job, showing knowledge of how to use Facebook, etc is likely a job requirement, but that’s where the line should be drawn.

I personally don’t have a Facebook account. Some people think that’s crazy which is fine– that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. I have no need for Facebook. For me I see it as a huge time waste. I’m on Twitter and that’s enough of a time drain as it is. I get out, go to WordCamps and other conferences, hang with friends, have large BBQs in my back yard. That’s quite far from being antisocial if you ask most people. And I lead quite a happy life without the drama of Facebook.

Credit is another touchy area and this one hits a bit closer to home. One of my neighbors has been unemployed for 2 years. Finally almost got hired last week– passed background checks, drug screening, and even had a start date. Then he was informed he failed a credit check. No job.

Credit is usually used as a measure of risk because someone with a lower score could be more desperate and could potentially steal from the company. While this is ok in some cases, it’s hard to not discriminiate. In the case of my neighbor, his credit was fine while previously employed, but being out of work takes its toll on not paying debts. That should be expected, especially in this economy, but should it be used as a factor in his eligibility? Probably not.

There are good job candidates all over that can’t get jobs because of how employers still find ways to discriminate against them. If we want to fix unemployment, here’s a good place to start. Help people that want to work be more likely to get jobs and get their lives back on track.

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