Archive for November 18th, 2008


My Own Religion

Please do not take this the wrong way. I’m forming my own religion. I’m not doing it to denigrate or deride any other religion. I’ve got no personal beef with God or Jesus or Mohammed or any other spiritual leader. I don’t currently “belong” to any traditional organized religious group, but I do consider myself a spiritual and moral person. Right and wrong is an important foundational concept for me and my family. Also, giving to the community that has allowed me to prosper is an important thing. That is why I am forming my own religion. Bear with me.

The Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination are:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces all of these laws. EEOC also provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies.

Other federal laws, not enforced by EEOC, also prohibit discrimination and reprisal against federal employees and applicants. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) contains a number of prohibitions, known as prohibited personnel practices, which are designed to promote overall fairness in federal personnel actions. 5 U.S.C. 2302. The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. It also provides that certain personnel actions can not be based on attributes or conduct that do not adversely affect employee performance, such as marital status and political affiliation. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on conduct to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. The CSRA also prohibits reprisal against federal employees or applicants for whistle-blowing, or for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right. The CSRA is enforced by both the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

What am I going off about now? The short answer is: discrimination. Our government has gone to great lengths to define what is and is not discrimination in the workplace. There’s a lot of fuss going on right now about the Obama/Biden administration’s questionnaire that prospective employees must fill out. There’s over nine pages of questions. The answers, one would presume, will be used to decide who gets and does not get a job. An employer absolutely has a right to use objective criteria to decide who they want to employ. The Federal Government, who is the employer in this case, basically cannot make choices based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. Everything else is, technically, fair game.

Take number 6. “If you or your spouse have performed work for, received payments from and/or made any payments to any foreign government, business, non-profit organization or individual, please describe the circumstances, and identify the source and amount. Also please specify if you or your spouse have ever been registered as an agent for a foreign principal.” I have donated directly to several foreign non-profits and I have donated my personal time and energy to many domestic non-profit endeavors that might be deemed “activist”. Do you think I will be held in greater or lesser light than Ms. Clinton, whose hubby most certainly earns a tidy living from foreign sources?

Number 13 wants to know if you’ve ever sent an embarrassing email or text message. Who hasn’t? Number 14 wants to know if you keep a diary. What skeletons be in there? The financial section wants a copy of your brokerage statements, a net worth statement, a list of all loans made to you or your spouse in excess of $10k, information on all the trusts you may be involved with, all your mortgage terms, and any gift that you or your spouse ever received that is worth more than $50 that wasn’t given by relatives or close and longstanding friends. Yikes.

33-41 ask for all kinds of tax information. I was under the impression that this stuff was confidential.

44 is pretty interesting. It wants to know if you or your spouse have been involved with any insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings… as a debtor, creditor, claimant or defendant. I received a $1.44 cent bankruptcy settlement check from MCI many years ago. How does that have bearing on suitability for a job in government?

I get the parts about asking whether you, your spouse or other family members have been involved in any type of criminal or proceedural issues. I’m a little fuzzy on the administration wanting to know about any malpractice claim made against you, formally or informally, and the resolution of the matter. Presumably, every OB/GYN doctor in the US will fall under extra scrutiny since it is almost a certainty that he/she has been involved in at least one case, legit or not. I also am quite okay with asking if you were stupid enough to hire an illegal alien as domestic help. Not so sure about how just having or not having domestic help is a determining factor.

Number 57 wants a list of all your cohabitants for the past 10 years. Number 58 wants to know about all websites (must provide the URL) that feature you in either a personal or professional capacity (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, etc.). 59 wants to know if you or any members of your family own a gun, any registration information about the gun, who uses the gun and how, and whether or not said gun(s) have been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage. 60 wants to know if you’ve had a physical in the last year and the general state of your health. 62 wants to know if any group will take steps to criticize your nomination. I guess that group will include every Democrat… and every Republican…

You’ll also be giving the Obama Transition Foundation the ability to run a consumer/credit report on you through ChoicePoint WorkPlace Solutions, Inc. (a company based, primarily in Europe, BTW…).

Ostensibly, the Obama Transition Foundation is going to use all this information that you provide to make decisions to fill vacancies. What if you believe that you lost out on the job of your dreams because a co-worker gave you a $60 espresso machine at a holiday gift exchange at the office last year (times were good and there was a $100 limit)? What if you put down that your college son is on the Olympic shooting team and was injured by an errant ricochet and needed stitches to sew up the wound? How many live-ins are too many? Well, you deserve to have recourse.

My religion will have as its foundation a whole list of things that are considered sacraments. These sacraments will pretty much cover all the questions in this list. If you don’t get the job, make sure that you are a member of my religion. You’ll be able to file a federal charge of employment discrimination based on religion. I just want to give back.