Friday, November 14, 2003

Gender discrimination is illegal

Depend on Robbie Port to cause me to set aside what I had intended to post today to pen an emergency correction to dangerous notions about gender discrimination. He says:

Everybody thinks men and women should be exactly equal. They should be considered for the same jobs as men and should be paid at the same level. Companies engaged in hiring new employees are often encouraged to hire women and we've all heard the new politically correct job titles such as "mail carrier" instead of "mailman." In theory, that sounds nice. In practice some problems arise.

Take, for instance, firefighters. Every day these people are faced with dangers and often must count on the strength and agility of their co-workers. If I were a fireman I would want the strongest person available to be backing me up in a hot situation. I would want the same if I were a police officer or a soldier. Granted, many women are just as strong, or stronger, than most men but in general men are bigger and stronger.

. . .All I'm saying is that men and women are different and when we hire for jobs those differences should be taken into consideration, especially in dangerous jobs like those I described above. If a woman wants to be a fireman that's great, as long as she can past the exact same tests and examinations that the men do. If the job you want requires you to be able to complete 30 pushups then you'd better be able to do those 30 pushups. If you can't, find another job.

Let's consider two of the errors in Port's ill-conceived entry.

  • Municipalities do not decide the rules for hiring workers in a vacuum, as he claims. State and federal law regulate various aspects of employment, including discrimination
  • .

  • A major criterion determining whether rules against hiring or promoting women are discriminatory under Title VII, the most relevant statute, is employment-relatedness. The only way it would matter if an employee can do 30 pushups is if doing those pushups can be shown to be directly related to firefighting. Otherwise, the requirement would be irrelevant to being qualified for the job, regardless of whether someone likes his firefighters strong -- and male. The issue is not the gender of the employee, but what skills the job requires.

  • Title VII has been around for so long I tend to take it for granted 'everyone knows' that the kind of discrimination Port supports is illegal. His is the kind of misinformation I would expect to read in material from the 1960s or 1970s, not in 2003.

    Robbie Port's latest assault on reality is evidence of a a major problem with the blogosphere: The Ports spout so much inaccurate information that the minority of smart, responsible bloggers are virtually forced to clean up after them.

    By the way, Port's blog is called Say Anything . . . and he really does.

    Note: This entry also appeared at Silver Rights.

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