Friday, November 02, 2007

Where do these people come from?

You absolutely have got to read this letter to the editor from the JG, I have posted it in its entirety:

Business owner should know law

When Matt Kelty, during a discussion about a recent campaign ad, was asked about Fort Wayne’s law concerning discrimination based on sexual orientation, he responded that he was “vaguely familiar” with the law.

From my experiences in management, and as a Metropolitan Human Relations Commissioner, I have to question the competence of a business owner who is not familiar with all aspects of the city’s antidiscrimination code and who, therefore, probably does not have policies and procedures for both the company and employees to follow should discrimination occur in the workplace.


This is an appalling letter and it needs to be discussed.

I am a small business owner and my wife and I provide accounting, bookkeeping, and tax services for over one hundred local small businesses. If I had to guess I would say that less then 1% of those business owners have "policies and procedures for both the company and employees to follow should discrimination occur in the workplace."

Most small business owners are trying to make a living and do not have time to put written policies into place that cover each and every circumstance that can arise...

According to her letter EVERY business owner should not only understand these rules but they should have a written policy in place to deal with these issues...

I imagine if she were in charge then every business owner would have to attend weeks or even months of training on various topics and most likely create a "employee handbook" that is a few hundred pages long...

Good Grief

Mike Sylvester

P.S. My wife and I do not have a written policy in place to handle these issues. In Barbara Linden's world that means we are not "competent" per her letter to the editor.

P.S.S. Does your company have a written policy in place to deal with these issues if you are a msall business owner?


Anonymous said...

The policy should be to have no sexual orientation at the regular work hours. So called zero orientation policy.

J Q Taxpayer said...

First of all Matt might have not known what detail the person may wanted to add as a follow up question. Few, know the DETAILS of such laws.

I have worked for businesses that detailed it to the 10th degree and kept saying through out to contact the legal department. Yes, it was for one of the largest corps. here in the US

I have worked for businesses that there was no policy outside of common sense. If an issue came up it was addressed via the use of lawyers.

In general, if you treat all people fair and as humans, you will have few, if any problems.

Parson said...

I would have agree, a small business isn't going to have problems with discrimination and such. Especially if it is just 2 or 3 people. Now if your have maybe 10 people and they aren't family or close friends you may want to at least consider a policy.

Tim Zank said...

Unfortunately, the end result of all the mountains of paperwork, the countless hours spent "educating" the work force, and the exhorbitant cost of enforcement, has been pretty much a huge waste of time and money.

HR "asscovering" takes up an enormous amount of a companies resources, where common sense and decency would suffice. Just another ONE of the MANY reasons American companies are often NOT COMPETITIVE anymore.

jon said...

Well actually there are a few issues here to discuss. The overlying Federal Law that Metro was created and given specific authority to regulate is Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964. Per the federal law the EEOC and certain "state fair employment practices agencies (FEPAs) have authority to investigate, mediate and in some cases file lawsuits on behalf of employees. Metro is a FEPA. The problem is under federal guidelines FEPA's can be given no additional authority to investigate, mediate or file lawsuits for anything other than that which is contained in Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964.

That being said.... Title VII makes it unlawful to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and by amendment pregnancy.

Title VII, however only applies to employers who employ 15 or more employees for more than 19 weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. (Matt Kelty's business does not qualify).

Additionally since Title VII does not cover sexual orientation the FEPA charter that creates Metro does not and can not cover sexual orientation.

Although, the City of Fort Wayne has legitimately passed a law making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation it does not have the authority to increase Metro's investigative power and give it authority greater than that granted it by the Federal and corresponding state law.

So I must ask Ms. Lindin who appears to only have a very sketchy knowledge of the law overriding her own business. What business is it of a small business owner to know a community's law that does not apply to him? When its own government has no comprehension of the law they are trying to enforce.

Jon Olinger, MBA, SPHR

Anonymous said...

Mr. Olinger,

Its impossible to have a full comprehension of all the laws and all the regulations in each locality. Even for a lawyer. Not is it practical. Its just too many laws and localities.

Not knowing a law does not preclude one to be found guilty violating that law. Therefore anyone can be potentially found guilty in on thing in another if investigated well enough, effectively resulting in entrapment.

One way to correct the situation is to revoked the majority of laws. Common sense and tradition are good enough most of the time. Moses laws worked fine for centuries.

Hereticus Normales

Tim Zank said...

Jon O!!

Nice job!

jon said...


You are absolutly right.

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