Walk in Her Boots, Mr. President – George W. Bush – Brief Article
By Todd Raphael
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
Now that you’ve had time to unpack your bags, toss your Stetsons on the rack, and trash all the leftover Filet-o-Fish wrappers from the Oval Office, I want to make some suggestions to you and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao:
For the first time ever in history, you should support and sign a federal law making it illegal to fire someone for being gay or to reject a candidate because of his or her sexual orientation.
What quicker way to show you’re serious about uniting and not dividing America? A similar bill was introduced during the last Congress–by one of your fellow Republicans, as a matter of fact. I don’t buy the nonsense that such a law would cause quotas, cripple religious institutions, and require employers to pay domestic-partner benefits. In fact, this Republican bill was carefully written to prevent all three things from happening.
Once you’re done with that, take a hard look at the Family and Medical Leave Act. Now I’m aware of that sugar-n-spicy survey the Labor Department in the previous administration came out with. You know, the one that claimed, “The FMLA is working without the burden to business many have feared. More than 8 out of 10 employers report either positive or no noticeable impact on company productivity, profits, or growth.”
Come on now I’ve been checking out the Workforce Legal Forum, this online message board we have, every day for three years now, and the FMLA generates more confusion than most of the other labor laws on the books combined. Readers of WORKFORCE magazine spend hours at that forum, and have learned that if you stick the FMLA, vacation time, sick time, and workers’ comp in a big blender, you get nothing but confusion stew, with an occasional lawsuit sprinkled on top.
Spending all that time just figuring out the FMLA can’t have a “positive impact on company productivity, profits, or growth.” Simplify and clarify the law, or throw it out.
Next, use the tax code to encourage employers to hire employees with disabilities.
An expanded tax credit will do a much better job than the ADA has. The ADA is another mandate, and that means that employers are getting scared off from hiring disabled employees in the first place, fearing–rightly or wrongly–that accommodations will be expensive. Carrots (money) are usually better than sticks (rules).
One more thing. Take a day and spend it with a human resources professional. You’ll see that she wants to help the company recruit top employees and create a culture that fosters innovation and creativity. Instead, she’s having to comply with a numbing array of state and federal laws, many of which are duplicative and contradictory.
It’s hard to be in the boardroom talking with the CEO about how to become an “employer of choice” when you’re spending your time figuring out whether the dishwasher detergent in the break room is grounds for a government fine.
These HR people wear a lot of different Stetsons, Mr. President, and it would help to walk a mile in their boots.
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