Oppressors of the world unite. Senate bill 43 is a step in the right direction of dismantling the whole unwieldy, unhealthy equal opportunity framework.

Unhappy with proposed Republican workplace discrimination reform, Rep. Steven Roberts (D-St. Louis) claimed the bill would favor the “rights of the oppressors over the rights of the oppressed.” By “oppressors” Roberts means the employers who hired the “oppressed” in the first place.

Roberts was referring to Senate bill 43, which has passed out of two House committees and the full Senate. The bill would require the oppressed to prove that their oppressor was actually motivated to discriminate against them by dint of their race, religion, sex or other protected status. Roberts said the legislation would “close the doors to the courthouse.”

It took another Democrat to point out, however unwittingly, the fundamental unfairness of all sex or race-based workplace discrimination laws. As paraphrased on Missourinet, Mitten believes that “everyone is affected by the proposal, unless you are an atheist white male under 40.”

Mitten meant that the bill was too far reaching. What she alluded to instead was the fact that young white males are routinely discriminated against in the workplace if their interests compete with those of someone in a protected class. This is something of a running joke in Human Resource (HR) circles.

Despite the posted notices about equal opportunity in hiring, employers routinely favor those in protected classes over white males under the rationale of “diversity.” Indeed, in corporate circles clients judge their vendors on their diversity “metrics,” and this reality forces forces the vendors to hire appropriately.

As HR people know, not all all protected classes are treated equally. Some are treated more sensitively than others. The irony is that those most protected are most likely to find themselves suing their employer/oppressor for discrimination when their inadequacy at a given job is recognized.

The whole equal opportunity framework is unwieldy, unhealthy, and unconstitutional. It deserves to be scrapped, and Senate bill 43 is at least a step in the right direction.


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