The Washington Times was right to criticize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for its recent letter claiming that it is illegal discrimination to require job applicants to have high school diplomas (“EEOC undermines job creation,” Comment & Analysis, Jan. 3).
The EEOC’s claim is lawless and part of a pattern of economically destructive assaults on employers. The claim that an employer must drop its diploma requirement just because a single learning-disabled applicant was unable to graduate conflicts with court rulings. Court decisions such as Coe v. Yellow Freight (1981) make clear that a “disparate-impact” discrimination claim cannot be based on the fact that a selection criterion screens out a single applicant or a small group of applicants.
This is just one of many unreasonable demands by the EEOC. The commission recently threatened public safety by demanding that employers hire truckers with histories of heavy drinking and that they drop criminal background checks. These demands discourage hiring: If an employer is not allowed to hire based on merit, it may decide not to hire at all.