EEOC: High School Diploma Requirement Might Violate Americans with Disabilities Act

Dave Boyer, Washington Times, January 1, 2012

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.



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  • No doubt this is meant to help Eric Holder’s people, as more than 30% of black yoofs receive SSD checks for ADD or some other mental illness. They are usually coached by their mother or grandmother to act severely retarded in order for the fambly to get more of the taxpayers’ money

  • Ironically, the very same EEOC bureaucrats who issued this letter had
    to have attained certain educational requirements (way beyond high
    school) to get their Federal jobs.  In fact, when the Federal civil
    service shifted away from exams to education requirements, that was
    largely a sop to affirmative action, because the kind of blacks that
    would want to become Federal employees wouldn’t be able to pass tests,
    (queue lawsuits about disparate impact), but they always could find some
    college that would give them a diploma based on their black skin
    privilege.  And it meant more business for the education-industrial
    complex, which makes most Democrats happy.  Look for more and more
    police and fire departments to shift away from “problematic” disparate
    impact lawsuit minefield exams and tests for hiring and promotion to
    mere requirements for a diploma or degree for hiring then some more
    advanced diploma or educational certification for promotion.  The same
    liberal Democrats who love the disparate impact suits over exams will
    find no problem with this, because more college means more people paying
    tuition to to the education-industrial complex, and again, some fly by
    night college will give protected minorities a diploma.

    High School today is so easy for the most part that those who don’t
    get a diploma are either blatantly developmentally disabled, in which
    case they won’t be seeking regular jobs, or they’re too lazy to show up
    to school, in which case they will only be seeking legitimate employment
    when their probation officer makes them.  The personnel/HR managers
    that are hiring for jobs whose applicants should have a high school
    diploma are basically using the HS diploma requirement as an attendance
    proxy and not an intelligence proxy.  A high school diploma means
    nothing academically or intellectually these days.  All it means is that
    you’ll usually show up to work like you usually showed up to high

    If the Feds want to do anything in this realm, it should be on the
    “college” end.  Many jobs that require a college degree really don’t
    need college-educated individuals.  Except that education has been so
    dumbed down that there’s “mission creep” in this venue — The more
    students go to college because they think they “have to,” the more
    college gets dumbed down, and the less valuable a college degree
    becomes.  Therefore, more and more jobs are requiring a college diploma
    as a proxy for a person having at least an average intellect and
    faithful attendance habits.   But the EEOC will never do this, because
    it would ultimately mean that fewer people go to college, and therefore,
    fewer people pay tuition to the education-industrial complex.  A few
    high school students not finishing high school means virtually nothing
    to the bottom line of the education-industrial complex, because most
    high schools don’t charge tuition.

    • Anonymous

      “Many jobs that require a college degree really don’t.”


      True.  Employers use attainment of a college degree as a crude screening device — indicating basic trainability.  That’s because employers cannot test job applicants because of the disparate impact testing has on minorities.   This policy started with the 1971 Supreme Court decision known as Griggs vs. Duke Power:


      1963 MOTOROLA CASE:
      “In 1963 a young black man in Chicago applied for a job at a Motorola television factory and was turned down on the basis of his score on an IQ test the company had given him. He filed a complaint with the Illinois Fair Employment Practices Commission, which ordered Motorola to hire him.” pp. 156-157

      1971: GRIGGS V. DUKE POWER
      “For several years the issue of racial inequality in whatever was being handed out on the basis of standardized test scores had been bubbling up to the level of consideration by the Supreme Court. The most important early case was Griggs v. Duke Power, in 1971, a replay of the old Motorola case in Illinois. A group of black employees challenged the use of intelligence tests by the Duke Power Company, because even if the test hadn’t been designed to exclude blacks, it had that effect. The Supreme Court came down unanimously on the pro-black, anti-testing side, ruling that a business could not use standardized tests in hiring or promotion unless the tests measured specific skill at a task, not general intelligence, and could be proved to be a ‘business necessity.’” p. 204

      1989: WARD’S COVE v. ANTONIO
      “In two cases decided in 1989, City of Richmond v. J. A. Crosson Co. And Wards Cove Packing v. Antonio, the Court seemed to be signaling that it had reservations about affirmative action: in the first it struck down a requirement that 30 percent of the money spent on construction contracts by the Richmon municipal government be reserved for minority-owned firms; in the second it pulled back from the old Griggs v. Duke Power decision by saying that henceforth minority employees would have to prove that hiring standards were discriminatory in order to win lawsuits, rather than employers having to prove that they were not discriminatory.” p. 279
      “In 1990….Congress, pushed hard by civil-rights organizations and liberal and minority representatives, passed a bill that would overturn the Wards Cove decision and restore the Griggs standard in employment: there could be no use of tests that had a disparate racial impact unless the employer could prove that they were a business necessity. Bush vetoed the bill. In 1991, Congress passed the same bill again and this time Bush signed it into law.”  P. 279

  • I read this and it laughingly came to me…This was the first major obstacle that had to be overcome for the movie “Idiocracy” to actually become non-fiction! I hope the majority of AR readers have seen this movie about our society being governed by buffoons. If this ADA-inspired foolishness continues, the US will have to drop all requirements to be POTUS! Although, maybe we kinda did that last time around.

  • Now, at least Obama can show his school grades.  It won’t disqualify him from the job anymore. 

  • Anonymous

    ‘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’….isnt that exactly what our controlling elites want..posted earlier this link to a video on another amren page which shows ar can find it by clicking on ‘ HOME ‘ and then clicking on AR is Jared Taylor on Question Diversity and the other is Jared Taylor on White is the link..

    • Anonymous

      read ‘Fourth Point’ in speech given by Richard Lamn,former Democratic Governor of Colorado-1975-1987….

  • M.

    In order for a multiCULTural society to appear to function, there can be no objective standards or barriers to hold anyone back.

    What this essentially means is that school is now irrelevant. 

  • Anonymous

    If someone can’t do math, would you really want that person in a job where knowledge of math is important?  This is insane.

  • Anonymous

    Not giving a job to any liberal or registered Democrat is probably a violation of the ADA.

    Seriously, when will people notice that liberals are ALWAYS on the side that argues against standards, against decency, against intolerance of antisocial behavior, against achievement and accomplishment, against high expectations, against condemnation of deviancy, against punishment for anything (except being white) and against the general effort to sustain civilization?

  • Ageofknowledge

    Modern liberals always skew everything downwards to conform with the lowest common denominator. They are unable to comprehend that this behavior, by definition, results in loss. They actually work to belay success and then call that success.

  • To me, This screams E_Z_Credit_For_Student_Loans! just a another tool to tare down reasonable barriers to keep UNQUALIFIED People from getting loans that will ultimately default and cause a massive bailout!

  • Andy

    ADA within EEOC is not entirely alien to AR values, it seems to me.   In the area of physical handicap (e.g., with war veterans, say ) involving skilled manual workers, compensatory devices and procedures can make a worker whole who would otherwise be work-handicapped.   Those who excel in business management/personnel management/ have long realized that investing in compensatory devices and procedures for the handicapped often over time yields rewards far offsetting the burdens of initial compensatory efforts.  Competent statecraft might simply double-reward—put lots of icing on the cake–for such proficient and far-sighted management practices by making, say, MacArthur type grants to those who’ve done it–i.e., providing a rather lush reward for those who can and wish to–thus not trying to mandate brains and wisdom and far sightedness in those settings  lacking such management potential. Clearly as matters stand in our society,  it is preferable to end these programs that are not justified by their occasional successes and are condemned by the inefficiency and corruption they visit upon the overall economy.    

  • sedonaman

    Notice that it is not the EEOC who has to get work out of an employee; it’s the employer. So we have the same story here of those forcing others to do something and the enforcer not having to pay a price for being wrong.

    One of the most valuable characteristics of an employee is self-motivation. How do you determine self-motivation? One way is to look at how far the applicant went in school. Someone who finished high school is likely to have more self-motivation than one who did not. This is not true in every case, which brings us to the next problem the employer has: a seemingly infinite number of applications and a finite amount of time. Obviously, some weeding out must be done to narrow the field, and the easiest way to do it is to require some level of formal eduction. The next is to require some experience. These requirements will reduce the pile of applications down from infinity to something manageable. In order to find the hypothetical candidate who lacks credentials but who can do a marvelous job is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and it’s unfair to ask it of the employer.

    There was a case in which a Ms Bartlett took the bar exam and failed it four times. She claimed a disability and sued under the ADA because she was a slow reader. She wanted
    unlimited time to take the test, plus some other accommodations. Pending the outcome of her suit, she was able to take the test with the accommodations, but failed again with a lower score. She eventually won her suit, but winning a lawsuit is not the same as performing well on the job, nor is it the same as passing a test.

    Like most bureaucracies, the EEOC has outlived its usefulness because it is more concerned with self-preservation than a fair administration of law.