Thursday, September 23, 2010

When you've paved with good intentions, the destination is....?

Via Advice Goddess, an article about the "Paycheck Fairness Act".  Much like the American with Disabilities Act, the net result will be that fewer women are hired because it makes it easier for them to sue on the grounds of "sex based pay discrimination".  The article, by Christina Hoff Sommers, rightly points out that there are a lot of valid reasons for women earning less then men, including less time actually spent on the job, experience, education.  None of these are factors that are controlled by the employer, yet with this bill, they can potentially face a costly lawsuit.  She also points out that a bill such as this will set men and women at odds with each other.

I'm seeing a parallel with the Americans with Disabilities Act which had the effect of chilling the hiring of folks with special needs, because once in place, they could sue your pants off if you fired them, even with the most documented of causes.  Apparently the Federal government does not either look at the results of any of the laws it passes, it just passes them (the examples are too numerous to mention).

The secondary point made by Hoff Sommers I think is actually a more salient one--it sets men and women against each other in a gender war similar to that of the early 1970's, thus weakening the American people by dividing them using an enemy that is integral to the society and thus cannot be completely disposed of (see Sun-Tzu) and it creates a no win situation for both parties.  All it does is open the door to lawsuits and lawyer fees without actually helping anyone, just like the ADA. 

Gender equity in the workplace was given the boost it needed and now market forces and the proclivities of those in the workplace are reaching a status quo.  To try to change it again would be counterproductive and would potentially cause far more problems than it would solve.

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