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Should an entrepreneur be free to hire only gay employees if he believes them to be more productive?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 am - May 15, 2012.
Filed under: Entrepreneurs,Freedom

Reader MV passed along this story of how non-discrimination laws might prevent an employer from choosing to hire only gay people:

A gay man in Manhattan contends he was fired because he objected to his boss’s biased hiring: The boss, he alleges, had a bias against hiring straight people.

Jamie Ardigo, 32, of Hoboken, is suing investor and entrepreneur J. Christopher Burch of New York for sex-discrimination and wrongful termination. Ardigo, who had been hired as HR director for J. Christopher Capital, Burch’s company, contends he was fired when he sought to change what he claims was Burch’s and the company’s discriminatory practices.

. . . .

[Fewer than four weeks after Ardgo “went to work for the company in early November 2011”] he says, he was seated in a meeting where Burch announced the fact that he hired only gay men because they were productive, and because he trusted them. Burch said the same thing, Ardigo asserts, on other occasions: “I witnessed it in meetings with the executive management team, where he’d blatantly state the fact that he only likes to hire gay men and beautiful women.”

And the problem is?

It is Mr. Burch’s company; he should be free to determines which individuals make the most productive and trustworthy employees.  And if he believes gay men to be more productive (and given some gay men I know it the field of finance, I have seen some grounds for that belief), the he should be free to hire them.

If he, however, chooses to hire only gay people, he gives his competitors an advantage — as they will be selecting from a much wider pool of potential employees.   That’s said, it’s his money he’s risking (not the government’s).

Now, Burch’s lawyer denies the allegations; this issue may never come before a judge.  That said, were Mr. Burch to prefer gay men in his office, well, bully for him.  The state should not be in the business of deciding how an entrepreneur selects his workforce.



  1. If Mr Burch’s company exceeds 15 employees, he is subject to Federal Employment Law. As Mr Burch may hate straight people, because that really is the reason why none are in his employ, he should bear the full brunt of the law under Title VII, for sexual harassment. I’ve read similar suggestions from closeted conservatives that Title VII should be repealed now that HR departments are occupied by homosexuals/bisexuals. The narcissistically hostile behavior from homosexuals/bisexuals within the public/private sectors after over fifty years is ridiculous.

    Comment by rjligier — May 15, 2012 @ 5:11 am - May 15, 2012

  2. Of course he is subject to various federal employment laws, rjligier — that isn’t the point as I’m reading this post. I think the question being raised is one of whether it is really the government’s business who Burch hires and what criteria he uses.

    Why shouldn’t, for example, a newspaper that covers the black community be able to choose to hire only African-Americans? Why shouldn’t a gay bar be able to choose to hire only LGBT individuals? And don’t tell me that the reason is because “discrimination is a bad thing” — that is a value judgement that individuals ought to be able to make in choosing how and where they spend their money, with the marketplace deciding whether the discriminatory policy is one that makes economic sense.

    Comment by Rhymes With Right — May 15, 2012 @ 6:15 am - May 15, 2012

  3. IMHO, this is not an easy matter. As a straight Christian guy, it’s important to me that the GLBT community is generally not discriminated against but, on the other hand, I also don’t want my church or any religious organization forced to hire someone who isn’t in line with the teachings of that organization. So, I don’t support the right of my employer to discriminate against a gay person applying to be my coworker (I’m a mechanical engineer), but I do believe my church should have the right to exclude from consideration the same person from being my pastor. And that’s not because I take any pleasure in my church discriminating against anyone but because I think it’s important that churches and other organizations (e.g., Christian charities) be able to have certain standards whether I agree with those standards or not. And if some particular organization, especially one that had some connection to GLBT issues, wanted to hire only GLBT persons, I wouldn’t get bent out of shape about it.

    I believe people need to trust the free-market (not just the economic free-market but also the cultural free-market) more to punish or reward organizations’ actions regarding their inclusiveness. I’m not saying organizations should have complete legal free reign in discriminating, but I don’t think the government always needs to be involved. Again, I’m not generally in favor of allowing companies to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a good thing for government to make sure each person has the same access to every organization or employer.

    Comment by Chad — May 15, 2012 @ 9:24 am - May 15, 2012

  4. In principle, he has that right, but is it lawful? I don’t know. Yet I wonder if this means his customers also have the right or prevented from hiring his business to do certain jobs. Should we call for a gaycott?

    Comment by anon23532 — May 15, 2012 @ 10:20 am - May 15, 2012

  5. I agree with RWR at #2.
    The problem is that too many people get hung-up on the words discriminate/discriminating/discrimination, as if every instance of it is bad/negative.
    Applied judiciously its a fine quality to possess.
    Choosing the right candidate for a job from a pool of 4 qualified applicants requires…..discrimination.
    Choosing the ‘right’ wine to go with your fancy meal requires discrimination. Not long ago describing someone as having ‘discriminating taste’ was considered a high compliment.
    This is another example of how too many of us have allowed the left to hijack the language.

    Comment by Jman1961 — May 15, 2012 @ 10:34 am - May 15, 2012

  6. I agree with you Dan. I just thought it was funny.

    Comment by MV — May 15, 2012 @ 12:21 pm - May 15, 2012

  7. @Rhymes With Right , concerning Bartending at gay bars, I was hire to tend at a gay bar because I am straight, the owners felt I would not be a problem, as I would not be in the romance hunt with the patrons. I got great tips and no drama, life was good.

    Comment by Burninghiram (Piper) — May 15, 2012 @ 12:34 pm - May 15, 2012

  8. As a libertarian type, I dislike all these civil rights laws applying to various minorities. A private company should be able to discriminate against blacks, Hispanics, gays, women, whatever in hiring and promotion. However, once this gets out to the public via the Internet, the backlash and boycotts would be so insidious that he would then cease these kinds of backwards practices. His/her business would lose so many customers that he/she would subsequently give in because of the loss of money. See the invisible hand of capitalism works very well.

    Comment by davinci — May 15, 2012 @ 1:45 pm - May 15, 2012

  9. Should an entrepreneur be free to hire only gay employees if he believes them to be more productive?

    I’d have to say no, I favour laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and that applies to refusing to hire straight people too. Otherwise it means nothing. If I can decide to hire only straight people because I say I believe them to be more productive, what’s to stop the guy across the street hiring only straight people because he says he believes them to be more productive?

    Comment by Serenity — May 16, 2012 @ 2:14 am - May 16, 2012

  10. And some of us have this crazy, nutty idea that it’s no more any of the Government’s business who an employer hires to work in his shop than it is the Government’s business who he takes in his bedroom.

    Comment by V the K — May 16, 2012 @ 5:49 am - May 16, 2012

  11. Let’s change every instance of gay to straight and straight to gay and see how it reads.

    Lets change every instance of gay to white and straight to black and see how it reads.

    Comment by duane — May 16, 2012 @ 8:30 am - May 16, 2012

  12. As much as I don’t like Bruch’s hiring practices, it’s still his company. He has the right to do with his company what he wants.

    Comment by MVH — May 17, 2012 @ 2:15 am - May 17, 2012

  13. As in other scenarios (usually in the reverse I have to say), replace the word “gay” with Black, Jewish, Hispanic, “non-beautiful” women, etc, etc. and then let us know if “And the problem is?” applies

    Comment by Kevin — May 19, 2012 @ 12:01 am - May 19, 2012

  14. As in other scenarios (usually in the reverse I have to say), replace the word “gay” with Black, Jewish, Hispanic, “non-beautiful” women, etc, etc. and then let us know if “And the problem is?” applies

    Yes, it does.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — May 19, 2012 @ 1:47 am - May 19, 2012

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