In an official statement to the Home School Legal Defense Association, Fortune 500 company NiSource Inc. admitted its policy is to ignore potential employees simply because they were educated at home.
The response stemmed from a growing controversy surrounding the company’s treatment of a well-qualified applicant who was offered a position. That offer was subsequently rescinded when administrators found out he was a homeschool graduate.
Despite an impressive work history and an array of credentials that obviously impressed management during the interview process, NiSource determined the candidate ineligible simply because of the environment of his education. This decision was made even in light of the fact that high school experience was capped off with a series of courses he took at a state college–and his placement on the dean’s list.
In its defense, a company attorney told the HSLDA that it relies on diploma requirements as enumerated in an Ohio state ordinance. Michael Donnelly, a representative of the pro-homeschool association who wrote about the incident for Charisma News, responded that the section of code cited by NiSource “applies to public and chartered private schools, not home-schools.”
Therefore, he concluded, the company has no standing to discriminate against applicants based purely on the fact that they were educated at home.
He asserted that state law “clearly recognizes” the form of education as both “legal” and “valid,” calling NiSource’s stance on the issue “unreasonable and discriminatory.”
According to Donnelly, this case is not an isolated incident in Ohio.
He wrote that a number of companies have attempted to use the same law to keep homeschool graduates out. The passage of federal education standards known as Common Core has only exacerbated the situation, he concluded.
The program’s reliance on “nationalized standards, assessment, and data collection,” he asserted, “could negatively affect home-school graduates and job seekers.”
In the end, Donnelly defended a company’s right to establish whatever hiring criteria it wishes; however, he criticized policies that exclude otherwise qualified candidates based on the way they were educated.
“In a free economy,” he concluded, “companies have the right to hire those of their choosing; just as individuals have the right to decide who they work for and purchase from.”
Photo Credit: FlickrLickr (Creative Commons)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom