In an attempt to be fair to arbitrarily defined groups of people, I believe employment quotas end up being unfair across the board. I use the phrase "arbitrarily defined" because I truly would like to believe we live in a society where physical, mental, or genetic traits shouldn't stand in the way of a person's opportunity to prove he or she is qualified to do a job. That said, I do agree that it's appropriate for the government to require companies receiving government contracts to hire a specific number of disabled workers, as is discussed in today's article by Dr. Richard Alaniz.
If the government is providing a certain amount of money to its contractors, there's an implied opportunity to dictate some of the ways in which that money should be spent, and employment quotas can certainly be part of the requirement, right along with rules for meeting quality guidelines, OSHA requirements, and so on. But is it fair to the tax-paying and government-benefits-receiving public to enforce requirements that could result in greater unemployment for qualified workers? Is it fair to require employers to enhance their workforce with employees who might not have the qualifications to do a job, thus requiring a larger than necessary payroll, thus causing higher prices for the end consumers, in order to keep those government contracts? Of course it's fair - if you want the government contract, you play by the government rules. On the flip side, where is the fairness to the workers who are categorized as those who are required to be employed? I wouldn't want a job knowing that my employer only hired me because of a government requirement. I'd never be able to trust my relationship with my employer as being one in which we are both benefitting equally. I'm probably being really naive about this issue, and, at the very least, I know I'm confused, so feel free to set me straight.