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Friday, December 21, 2012

Time To Repeal Anti-Communist Discrimination Laws?

Is there any group more irrelevant in America today than communists? Back when Joe McCarthy was in his heyday smoking out suspected communists and socialists, our major rival on the international arena was the Soviet Union. Now that the Berlin Wall is down, the USSR is no more, and the Communist Party in the U.S. has about zero influence on U.S. politics, it might just be time to get rid of some antiquated anti-Communist laws.

I bet you didn't know that Title VII, the law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace, contains this clause:

(f) Members of Communist Party or Communist-action or Communist-front organizations
As used in this subchapter, the phrase “unlawful employment practice” shall not be deemed to include any action or measure taken by an employer, labor organization, joint labor-management committee, or employment agency with respect to an individual who is a member of the Communist Party of the United States or of any other organization required to register as a Communist-action or Communist-front organization by final order of the Subversive Activities Control Board pursuant to the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 [50 U.S.C. 781 et seq.].

Wait? Any action? So Title VII doesn't prohibit sexual harassment against a Communist? It doesn't prohibit race or national origin discrimination against a Communist? That's what the law says, although I haven't seen it used as a defense this way.

WTH? Why hasn't anyone gotten this silly remnant of the Cold War off the books? Well, the State of Nevada is leading the way. The Nevada legislature is taking steps to remove a similar provision from Nevada law.

I did a quick search and found similar provisions in Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Arizona. I'm sure there are more.

Surely the repeal of a law allowing discrimination based on political beliefs is something we can all agree on. It's time to move on past the Cold War and into the new millennium. Let's hear it for Nevada for leading the way.

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