Welcome to Dequav, Inc.


The Liberty Bell is an icon of freedom and justice.  So is Dequav.  Both were made to ring out for freedom and justice for all.  Both trace their origins to ’76.  The Liberty Bell to 1776.  Dequav to 1976. And both have a disabling crack in their foundation preventing them from ringing true. The bell’s crack is visible.   Dequav’s is not.  It’s crack is a deep wound in America whose pursuit is liberty and justice for all.  That wound is employment-at-will.  Dequav is an acronym for the Latin phrase: “delenda est quaestus ad voluntatem” (employment-at-will must be destroyed). Click on “The Law,” “Maps,” “History,” “Personal,” “Coalition Building & Dialogue,” and, finally, “Advancing The Cause Blog” for the full story.



Isn’t It Time for Reason to Prevail Over Rhetoric,

Statesmanship Over Partisanship?

In Remembrance of Joan Mulvaney

Born March 13, 1937, Joan departed September 29, 2011, of complications of COPD.  She was chief copy editor of Dequav’s web site and blog since its inception on Memorial Day, 2008.  She proof-read every page, every paragraph and every line of copy except these. We disagreed with her many times over style, syntax and words, but she was almost always right.  We will miss her.

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Jobs Plan Has Lots of Carrots, No Stick

President Obama’s new jobs plan is an attempt to make the stubborn mule of the economy move forward; it stopped moving altogether in August. And now it’s unlikely to budge.  Stubborn mules don’t move only when carrots are dangled before their eyes.  They also require a stick.  And there are no sticks in the President’s plan.  The carrots: extension of unemployment benefits, enlarging the Social Security tax cuts to include employers and giving small employers a $4,000 tax credit for those who hire people who have been out of work for six month or more.  There are also provisions to spend $35 billion to retain or hire teachers, police and firefighters, $30 billion to refurbish school buildings and $50 billion to build or repair highways, railroads, transit systems and waterways.

Now for a stick: the President needs to eliminate employment-at-will.  He alone can do it and must.  He can not wait for Congressional initiative as he usually does.  There is none.  There is no bill in either House that eliminates this immoral corporate entitlement.  And there may never be.  Nor is there likely to be any help from the U.S. Supreme Court, even though there are at least 27 violations of the U.S. Constitution.  See Dequav’s 95 Theses nos. 28 - 54.  There is not one legal challenge in the country to employment-at-will at any level in the courts likely to reach U.S. Supreme Court review.

The President has broad powers under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, passed in the closing days of the Bush Administration.  President Obama has authority to issue an Administrative Rule to make null and void all legal provisions that allow employers the right to hire/fire employees “at-will” and that any banks insured by F.D.I.C. must explicitly follow this rule both for themselves and their borrowers.  And furthermore, that banks not lend to companies that have factories or plants oversees which hire or retain employees “at-will,” or in which factories or plants would be construed as violating environmental or safety laws at home.  This Administrative Rule would be a very effective stick to move the stubborn mule forward, since it would put the employee on an equal playing field with the employer. 

Constitutionally, shouldn’t President Obama wait for a Congressional initiative before issuing such a far-reaching Administrative Rule?  No.  If President Lincoln had waited for Congressional approval to issue his Administrative Rule, called “the Emancipation Proclamation,” we’d still have slavery in this country and a white man as President.

Should the President decide not to follow this counsel -- and this is counsel we have given his Administration several times earlier, including at the beginning of his Presidency -- he has a much lesser option.  He must use the bully pulpit to force out of committee H.R. 1113 where it is bottled up for partisan reasons only.  H.R. 1113 would stop the hate crime of discrimination in employment against the under/unemployed, an abominable practice allowable under employment-at-will.  Passage of H.R. 1113 would restore the chronically unemployed’s civil rights.  H.R. 113 won’t win the war against employment-at-twill but it’s akin to raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.  And it will move the stubborn mule forward a notch.

Fox News Gets It: the Unemployed Are

Discriminated Against in Advertising

The unemployed are discriminated against in employment, Fox News reports, but we only know about it because it’s advertised.  CBS and ABC ran the story some months ago, so sorry Fox you didn’t get an exclusive on this story either. 

What’s fascinating in the Fox story, however, is the juxtaposition of two sides on the issue. One, real or feigned, was outraged at advertised discrimination against the unemployed.  The second side, warned against doing anything about it because lawyers might be brought into the fray who might sue, or, heavens, employers might just send more jobs oversees if they were prosecuted.

Well, those of us who have been helping the unemployed for any length of time know that discrimination against the unemployed has been going on for over 35 years, and it’s absolutely legal whether it’s advertised or not, despite what Professor Mark Tatge says.  There’s a superseding law, known as employment-at-will, that says as long as there’s a discrimination in employment practice that is not explicitly declared illegal, it’s legal.  Therefore, discrimination against the unemployed is perfectly legal because there’s no law to the contrary.  In fact, if an employer wants to discriminate against minorities, nationalities, males or females, 50-year-olds, Catholics, Jews or Moslems he can do so with impunity if the applicant is unemployed, thus nullifying 50 years of hard fought civil rights legislation.  Is it any wonder that black males in most major U.S. cities are 40-50% unemployed?  Or that the over-50 job-seeker, white or black, male or female, is corporate labeled road-kill?

But Steve Forbes proposed an interesting solution for those  employers so stupid   as to advertise discrimination against the unemployed (play the segment, it’s near the end): “Shoot them.”  That might be a little extreme but it would certainly catch their attention, Mr. Forbes.


On July 25, 2011, The  New York Times ran an article entitled “The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk.”  The asterisk was the lead: “The unemployed need not apply.”  The article was a follow-up to a Feb. 19, 2011, article dealing with the same problem.  Only now it wasn’t a novelty, it has become widespread.  And the Times notes “the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race.”

New Jersey, the article continues, is the lone state that bans ads that discriminate against the unemployed, although New York and Michigan were reported “considering the idea.”  H.R. 1113, a Congressional bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Rep. Henry Johnson Jr. of Georgia, would prohibit employers and employment firms from rejecting applicants solely because they’re unemployed.  The Times endorsed the measure in an editorial entitled “One Way to Help the Jobless,” viz., make this bill law.

H.R. 1113, entitled the “Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011,” was introduced in March and has picked up 52 co-sponsors.  Unfortunately, none of them were Republicans.  And since they rammed through their budget bill at the beginning of August, and nothing else was considered of importance, they adjourned.  Meanwhile, 30 million Americans languish.  And so does employment-at-will reform.

H.R. 1113 needs your support.  It is currently locked in committee for partisan reasons only.  Help unlock the legislation by signing this petition. Click here.

Worker Pope, John Paul II, Raised

to High Altar Honors

John Paul II, who was undoubtedly one of the most popular Popes in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, was beatified May 1, 2011.  He certainly was the most travelled, the most followed and drew the most audiences of any person on the face of the earth.  But for all his exploits, one that was unheralded, was his love of the common laborer.  He personally knew what it was like to work at hard labor.  From 1941-43 he worked as a common laborer in a rock quarry, doing the back-breaking work of breaking large stones into little ones.  It left a lasting impression.

He wrote and spoke about the plight of the ordinary worker many times.  Among his most famous published works on labor were Laborem Exercens (On Human Work, 1981), Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern, 1987) and Centesimus Annus (On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum, 1991).  In seven trips to the United States, he frequently mentioned workers’ rights and the rights of the poor.  At one point, before 350,000 people, he mentioned flatly that “every person has a right to useful employment” (Oct. 4, 1979, Living History Farms, Des Moines, Iowa).

But the greatest demonstration of his belief in the social doctrines he preached were his deeds.  According to recently released CIA files: “In 1980, workers in Gdansk, Poland, went on strike.  The Pope openly supported the strike and instructed Polish Primate Wyszynski to do the same.  The worker’s movement became known as Solidarity, and launched the Polish struggle against communist rule and Soviet influence.   In 1981, the actions of the workers lead to the Polish government declaring martial law.  Pope John Paul II publicly denounced the move in his radio broadcasts....” [Here the CIA goes on at length on how the transcripts of the radio messages, which were blocked by the Polish regime, were smuggled into the jailed union leaders].  The CIA concludes: “The events sparked by Solidarity lead to Poland becoming the Easter Bloc’s first freely elected government.”  Mikhall Gorbachev himself attributing the ultimate demise of the Soviet Union to John Paul, not President Reagan.  The West felt totally vindicated, of course,  in helping establish a capitalist form of business and industry in Poland.  But when John Paul II revisited Poland after the “reform,” capitalists received an entirely different response.  He called capitalists to a more “ethical” approach.  One newspaper noted: “He spoke so strongly that some European newspapers suggested after his visit that some capitalists run the risk of excommunication.”

The Pope spoke out against, first, the tremendous focus of capitalism to consume, possess and to have at any cost, and, second, capitalism’s focus on making profit at the expense of everyone, especially the worker who participates in manufacturing products.  Workers, he said, must be paid just wages.  “Many times,” John Paul said, “I have dealt with social questions in my talks and above all in my encyclicals....Yet as long as there is an injustice in the world, no matter how small, we must return to these themes.  Times in fact do change, circumstances change, but there are always in our midst those who need the voice of the Church, and that of the pope, to give expression to their anxiety, pain and misery.  They must not be disappointed.  They must know that the Church was and is with them, that the pope is with them; that he embraces with his whole heart and with his prayer all who are affected by suffering.  The pope will speak out -- and he cannot fail to speak out -- on social problems, because here man is involved, concrete individuals.” (Legnica, Poland, June 2, 1997).

It would seem unusual that John Paul II was beatified on May 1; most of the beatified and canonized are beatified or canonized on the date of their death, his was April 2, 2005.  However, he died at vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, a moveable feast day he instituted in 2000 for the second Sunday of Easter.  Therefore, the Church felt it appropriate to have his beatification when it did.  We must note, however, that May 1 is also internationally “Labor Day.”  And if there ever was a “Labor Pope” it was Pope John Paul II.  Coincidence?  John Paul  used to say there are no coincidences.  Coincidentally,  we believe, if he were alive today, he would subscribe to the Dequav motto: “delenda est quaestus ad voluntatem.”

Some Folks Who Also Don’t Like Employment-at-Will

The Madison, WI, demonstrations in mid-February by state employees clearly show why people instinctively dislike employment-at-will.  It degrades us.  Unions are a protection against it, but since employment-at-will is the law of the land, unless we have an employment contract or are unionized (or some other ways we will explain shortly), we are a degraded people who accept indignity because we want to work.  Evidently, the U.S. Catholic bishops feel the same way.  In an unprecedented move, they issued a formal statement Feb. 24th -- in a spirit of solidarity -- supporting their fellow Wisconsin bishops who earlier had issued their own formal statement supporting public unions and their right to collective bargaining.  And, though totally unintended, the U.S. bishops are establishing a case for the eventual elimination of the odious and toxic doctrine of employment-at-will, for if the right to unionize trumps the right of employers to hire at-will, therefore, through the principle of subsidiarity, elimination of employment-at-will is less restrictive.  However, we must not be trapped into thinking that the only alternatives to unionization or receiving an employment contract is unemployment. 

There is another alternative: banning employment-at-will.  Employers can do this voluntarily by simply declaring in their personnel policies that no employee will be released except for cause; the doctrine of employment at will explicitly states that at-will employees can be released for no cause, setting up the slave-master relationship of the original law and the indignity that goes with it.  Most corporate attorneys, however, counsel against rescinding employment-at-will in personnel policies.  In contrast, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee counsels its parishes not to incorporate employment-at-will language anywhere in their personnel policies.  Another voluntary method that employers can use to avoid having at-will employees, is to issue every employee a formal employment contract, perhaps after a 30-90 day waiting period.  At present, this method is reserved for high level corporate executives, movie stars and professional sports figures only.  It doesn’t have to be.  We have urged employers for four years to utilize voluntary methods for rescinding the onerous and toxic employment-at-will doctrine at their place of employment -- and to let us know when they did so.  So far only the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has responded.

States quite on their own could ban employment-at-will, but only one state has done so: Montana.  The ban has been tested and upheld in Montana’s Supreme Court.  But since the ban is construed by business lobbyists as anti-business -- totally untrue, it’s simply unjust for U.S. citizens --  proposals for the ban are unlikely to surface in any state legislature, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans.  In fact, the State of Virginia, pushed by the business lobbies, has actually introduced legislation to embed right-to-work provisions -- the apex of employment-at-will laws -- into its Constitution.  This year, Wisconsin and Ohio are expected to have right-to-work laws introduced, although not so radically or unconstitutionally, into their State Constitutions.

The Congress could also ban employment-at-will.  It can.  It won’t.  The President could also ban employment-at-will by Administrative Rule under the broad provisions provided by the so-called Emergency $700 Billion Economic Stabilization Act.  He could make null and void all provisions that allow the right to hire or retain employees “at-will” and that any banks that the U.S. Treasury invests in must explicitly follow this rule both for themselves and their borrowers.  And furthermore, that banks not lend to companies who have factories or plants overseas who hire or retain employees “at-will,” or which factories or plants would be construed as violating environmental or safety laws at home.  In fact, we asked the President at the beginning of his administration to adopt such an Administrative Rule.  Twice.  He never responded.

One final proposal: attack employment-at-will’s constitutionality.  There are at least 27 violations to the U.S. Constitution.  Click on 95 Theses above.  Theses 27 to 55 provide at least 27 -- we’re sure we missed some.  Unfortunately, not one of these theses are under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court at the present time. 


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Please feel free to comment on these remarks, but click on  Advancing the Cause blog and select a category you’re comfortable with and comment.  The first category, “Message to College Professors/Thought Leaders,” should fit everyone.  If you’re reading this you ARE a thought leader. 

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During the close of 2011, there has been no response to either of Ron Mulvaney’s follow up letters to his Congressmen.  However, at the opening of 2012, he received a follow up letter from U.S. Senator Herb Kohl.  The letter was an exact duplicate of Senator Kohl’s September 14, 2011, letter.  There was one difference: the second letter was dated November 17. 2011.