Thursday, July 05, 2007

A solution to discrimination lawsuits?

Dr. Anne Marie Knott, assistant professor at Washington University (Olin School of Business) has come up with an idea she says will reduce employment discrimination claims: an "anti-discrimination bond." That's bond as in financial instrument, not bond as in promise.

The "bond" is purchased by applicants and acts similarly to a 401k (payroll contributions are put into individual accounts) but with a hitch: the contributions are forfeited if the employee files a discrimination claim.

The idea seems to be that "litigious people" will find this distasteful and not apply to the organization. In fact, according to Knott, experiments using the bond may reduce litigation by 96%. And she's serious about this solution--she's even filed a patent for it.

I must admit this is pretty creative--the organization is not requiring people to sign away their right to sue (which has been upheld, but the EEOC can still go after you)--but instead tying it to a benefit. I'd be curious what the legal minds out there have to say about this one.

Looking at it from a different angle, I wonder what sort of message this sends to applicants? I know if I was asked to sign something like this I might wonder why they're even bothering--do they assume I'm a litigious type of person? Are they planning on discriminating against me?

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