Americans are a fair people, and therefore support the principle of equal pay for equal work. But study after study has proven that our society falls short of the goal of pay equality in one glaring and inexcusable way: shorter people make less money than taller people.
Recent studies have shown that short people, women, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, mothers, singles, gays/lesbians, the young, lefties, overweight people, handicapped people, people without blonde hair, bald men, women who don’t wear makeup, weak people, nice people, (maybe) people with unusual names, ugly people, and excessively beautiful people face wage discrimination in the workplace. We as a society shouldn’t be arbitrarily punishing workers for these innocuous attributes.
However, many of these factors, like attractiveness, are subjective. Others are concealable, like sexual orientation or hair color. Some are changeable, like physical fitness or weight. But one’s height is an objective, unchangeable physical characteristic and, therefore, the easiest of these wage injustices to address with common-sense, fair legislation.
Wealth should be earned. If an individual works hard, he deserves to be compensated accordingly.
Why should the short man make less money than the tall man? Unless the job in question is professional basketball playing, or some other job in which height is a tangible benefit, short people should be compensated just as well as their tall counter-parts. Yet tall privilege currently results in heightist employers paying short people 9% lower wages than their tall co-workers.
The solution to this problem is simple: we need the government to create a Bureau of Labor Fairness (BLF) to prevent wage discrimination. The private sector is simply incapable of dealing with this social issue, but the state can stand tall and stop oppressed short Americans from falling through the cracks.
Free-market ideologues will argue that America doesn’t need another government agency filled with bureaucrats to regulate the private sector, but this proposal will actually shrink the size of government and simplify regulations. The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, and all other existing anti-discrimination policies would fall to one agency which would have the power to stop all private prejudice – starting with height discrimination. Other forms of salary discrimination, such as prejudice against less attractive employees, could be addressed when objective, standardized assessments of beauty are developed by the BLF.
Too tall an order? Here is how the BLF can fix the problem of height discrimination: each business must submit an annual report to the BLF which states the height of each of their employees followed by a written evaluation of their work-place competence and their current salary. The BLF can then examine these reports and measure the degree of bias in each company by comparing the employee wage and competency evaluation against the national average wage.
If a worker’s wage differs from the national average, the BLF can determine the extent of height bias. If the bias is negative (paying the shorter employee less than he deserves), then the company must pay a bias tax and compensate the employee for lost wages and damages. If the bias is positive, the company is rewarded with tax breaks equal to some amount less than the bias premium.
With this framework established, unfair discrimination will be disincentivized, and historic wrongs might even be slowly righted. The program is not intrusive and only requires one report per year to be filed by American companies. Best of all, shorter workers who have faced oppression will no longer fear discrimination in the work place. They will know that companies will treat them a measure of respect and dignity. We need to be willing to stand tall and demand that the government end labor discrimination today.