Friday, June 05, 2015

Free Enterprise? No such animal!


Here we go again!  Our freedoms are being thrown out the window again and this time it is potentially disastrous to small and large business.  The repercussions will roll forward like a rogue wave out of the Gulf coming up the Houston ship channel.

On June 1st, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of a Muslim woman in suit against Abercrombie and Fitch when the store failed to hire her because she wore a head scarf in observance of her religion.  That is the assertion anyway.

This is a blatant attack on Free Enterprise, which incidentally is easily defined as the freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with minimal governmental regulation.

Now here me out before you think this is about attacking this woman because she follows Mohammed.  It’s not.  It’s because this particular free enterprise has a dress code and this woman’s head scarf violates it. 

This ruling by SCOTUS basically opens the door for anyone claiming a religious practice to force a company to hire and accommodate them.  It is Socialistic in nature and anti-Capitalistic in the extreme.  It is blatant government interference.  I wonder what their ruling would be if she had applied at a hog butchering facility.  Yes, they would force the facility to hire her and then shut the place down.

That may be levity, but I’ll wait and see.  Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to law makers or my disappointment in the erosion of what our founding fathers set up.

Let’s hypothesize a bit to express my point.  A person who follows one of the numerous religions around the world who eschew working Saturdays applies at Exxon-Mobil as a Process Technician and will be required to work shift work.  Exxon-Mobil will not hire them, but under this ruling, they have to accommodate them.  So they do, but this person does not have to work Saturdays and everyone else does.

Not only that, but they have to accommodate their dietary laws also and allow them to pray 6 times a shift, etc, etc.  Another scenario is those who believe smoking marijuana is part of their religion, so they get hired too.  What?  Yes, the IRS has incorporated an Indianapolis marijuana-smoking church as a tax-exempt religious organization on June 1st.  Now you have to hire them too and let them observe their holy use of the devil weed.

Am I against freedom of religion or smoking pot?  No I am not.  What I am against is our government eroding free enterprise and many other basic freedoms which were put in place many years ago to protect us against the government herding us like lemmings.

I was against banning smoking in private businesses for this very reason.  I felt a private enterprise should have the final say on whether they wanted to risk running off non-smoking customers to accommodate those who did – especially after the government forced them to install expensive air cleaning equipment.  I didn’t want to smell the smoke, but I hated to see freedoms disappear “for the good of the people”.

What’s next?  Mandatory hearing protection at rock concerts?  Should the government force you, the small business owner to hire someone even though they won’t wear an American flag patch on the shoulder of their uniform due to religious reasons?  It’s your company’s dress code.  Sorry, but they won’t have to.  They’ll be protected by the very government our forefathers warned us about.

Back on SCOTUS’s decision, David Lopez, EEOC General Counsel issued a statement saying, "Monday's case is the latest effort to ensure all persons protected by Title VII are not placed in the difficult position of choosing between adherence to one's faith and a job."  In Court lawyers for the government argued that it was not Elauf's  (Muslim lady) obligation to give direct notice that she needed an accommodation.

Here is the reality of that stupid argument.  Oh thank you for hiring me.  “Here is a list of my accommodations which the government will say you must give me.”  The business owner was just blind-sided and would probably try to fire the person and opening themselves up to a very expensive law suit which they would lose.

What I see in this decision is an employer stereotyping anyone they think will try to use their religion to gain access to the locker room. That person, who may or may not use religious beliefs for an advantage, will have no chance whatsoever of getting a job.  They won’t get a second interview, or another phone call.  Religious discrimination at its best.

Businesses are already operating in a stunted mode without adding this new caveat.  Many large companies have put a certificate or diploma above actual experience, resulting in people on the job who have no proclivity to actually doing the job.  Add in people claiming privilege and the standards of the company are vastly eroded.

Chemical Plants are hiring Process Techs with a 2 year certificate, many of which have never changed a flat tire or checked their own oil.  They have no work history, want to make top money in 3 years, and sit on their back-sides in the control room waiting for shift change.  They are protected though in most cases and the employer has to build a file on them 4 inches thick before they can get rid of them.

Business is doomed in America unless it allows everything from anyone.  Thank you US law makers.  You have successfully eroded 200+ years of common sense.

Free enterprise?  That’s an oxymoron.


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

This is a good one Bert.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Connaly: The only thing I disagree with is your position on the smoking ban, however I see the correlation in that and all the mentioned accommodations for special interest. That's like for military and first responders. What part of uniform is not understood.

Anonymous said...

Melanie Ferguson: We've been watching our freedoms erode right before our eyes.

Anonymous said...

Don Holloway: Great Piece. So true it hurts, wish I'd read it earlier. Now I gotta send it to 250 contacts. God Bless

Anonymous said...

Dandy Don Cunningham‎: Bert, your column in The Baytown Sun this morning was just wonderful.You hit the nail on the proverbial head, brother. Another great one!

Anonymous said...

BAM: Your most insightful article to date. Bravo

Anonymous said...

Alanis: You are so right about the quality of some workers that have gone from flipping burgers to working in a chemical plant after obtaining a two year certificate. I worked for 40+ years in industry and have witnessed the transformation first hand. Good pay is all some are interested in and have no interest in giving anything in return for that pay. We have become a country that rewards those that choose to not assimilate and punish those of us that do by having to pick up the undone work of the slackers.

It can only happen while shopping!

As the big man is my witness, every word of this is unquestionable and void of hyperbolic incredibility. With that taken into consid...