A listener wants to know if a company can require an employee to have a degree. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Joe wrote in on behalf of his sister, who got a job in which she was excelling—so much so that when her boss left, she took over her boss’ duties. But when she applied for the official promotion, she was told that she should never have been hired without a college degree but they’d let her continue to do the boss’ job without a raise until she got the degree. Uh, thank you?
Joe wants to know if it’s legal to require a capable worker to have a college degree. The answer is it depends. A seemingly neutral policy that’s unrelated to someone’s ability to do the job—like a degree—can still be discriminatory if it has the disproportionate effect of ruling out more women or minority candidates. But just because she doesn’t think she needs one doesn’t make it discriminatory. Maybe, since they won’t give her a raise, she could ask them to kick in for tuition.