As a libertarian I’m obviously opposed to any kind of regulation regarding who can and can’t be hired and why and why not they can’t be fired (with the possible exception of child labour). If you’re a racist scumbag who feels he can’t hire non-white people, if you’re a religious nutjob who won’t hire a muslim – that’s your right. The only one getting hurt is you – it’s your business that’s passing up on those skills. Those skills will go somewhere else and create value there. No need for the government to intervene. Additionally, there are certain areas where discrimination might even make sense (i.e. if you live in a deeply racist area and would lose business if you hired an African-American – it’s not your job to educate your fellow citizens by going bankrupt).
Finally, I can understand why women are in a bad place – I simply can’t accept that you get the same salary for posing more of a risk. We’ve got to be honest with one another here – the really high paying jobs require a lot of time and there’s really no place for a family in there. I completely understand why companies refuse to hire women. It’s not terribly nice but there are ways out. If my information is correct (and I have reason to believe it is because the source is fairly reliable), women are offered two tracks in Japan – a) career track and b) family track. If a) is chosen – they can’t have kids, if b) is chosen – they can’t have a career. Obviously, this is problematic in a society that’s based so much on collectivism to provide for the old but that’s really the problem of that system and not of what’s being done here.
Now, let’s finally get to what I really intended to talk about: religion. As far as I can tell, it’s fairly common to get a job because of someone you know and less because of who you are. Personally, I’m giving that whole meritocratic approach another shot (and it’s looking okay-ish, so far) but many others don’t. Sure, most of the really awesome jobs really are mostly meritocratic but many other jobs aren’t.
Right, back to religion. I was considering claiming that this was purely hypothetical but it isn’t. A good friend of mine is VERY religious. It’s not a big religion but rather a bit of a fringe thingie going on. Not Scientology-whacko but something like Mormon-whacko (a bit smaller but similar timeframe). Now, she got a “job” and I’m obviously very happy for her. Thing is – only reason she got the job is exactly because of her religion. She knows a guy and his father is the CEO of a local part of a pretty large multinational. Result: son talks to father, she gets job. No questions asked – send in CV, talk on the phone, that’s it. Sure, she’ll probably be a good worker and she probably would have found something through meritocracy as well but she didn’t. This job was only available to her BECAUSE of her religion – which means that everyone else was discrimnated against.
Now, consider the opposite situation: what if a job had not been able to her because of her religion? And let me tell you, there are quite a few reasons why you wouldn’t hire her. For example, there’s an entire year in her CV that she did nothing productive because of her religion. Then there’s the fact that she doesn’t eat during daylight for 19 days every year (kinda like Muslims) – no drinking either. I can tell you, that’s not terribly good for your motivation and ability to work hard. Finally, no alcohol either – which makes building relationships with some customers a lot harder.
See, all valid reasons (and dare I say: a lot MORE valid reasons than the ones that led to her being hired) – and yet, those are the kinds of reasons that lead to bitching whereas the situation above apparently bothers no one. I asked her whether she saw nothing wrong with this (half-jokingly, of course) – and she didn’t. As I’ve said above, I’m not bothered (apart from the possible conflicts of interest between shareholders and the CEO) by this but just like the EU verdict that you can discriminate against smokers I find it hilariously hypocritical…