Just what Nevada needs: Another law on the books giving businesses a reason to avoid hiring.
But that is what attorney and Assemblyman Richard “Tick” Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, has done by introducing Assembly Bill 90, which would amend the current legal prohibition against workplace discrimination or harassment to include “physical characteristics” such as height, weight and physical mannerisms, not just the currently protected classes of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability and national origin.
Mr. Segerblom says the bill would make it easier for short and overweight people subject to workplace bullying and discrimination to seek redress. (Read: sue.)
“There are a lot of overweight people, they are just routinely denied jobs,” he was quoted as saying. “Those people have a right to work like anybody.”
The trouble with such laws, of course, is the unintended consequence. And that is that employers look at a job candidate who falls into one of these protected classes, sees a potential lawsuit and thinks twice about hiring that person.
Gregory Kamer — an attorney who, like Mr. Segerblom, specializes in employment law, but apparently on the defense side instead of the plaintiff side — says, if the bill becomes law, it would increase costs for employers and make it more difficult to attract new businesses to come to the state.
“You are creating an opportunity for both plaintiff’s lawyers and individuals to have one more basis to sue their employers for damages,” Mr. Kamer said.
You might call AB90 the employment law plaintiff’s attorney full employment act.
Mr. Segerblom boasts that he has handled about 100 sex harassment cases over the past 30 years. He has sued numerous local governments claiming harassment or discrimination against employees. One decade-long case waged by Mr. Segerblom cost the Clark County School District $1.5 million.
Mr. Segerblom introduced a similar measure during the 2009 legislative session. It didn’t get a committee hearing.