Can a Potential Employer Discriminate Against the Unemployed in the Hiring Process?
In today’s economic climate, it is truly an “employer’s market” – since there are so many people desperate for jobs, employers can be much more selective about who they hire. It has been widely reported that certain employers are not hiring job applicants that are unemployed as of the time they apply for the job. In other words, they are only hiring people who are currently employed but are looking for a change of employment as opposed to people who are unemployed at the time they apply for the job.
New Jersey State Rep. Celeste Riley said she became conscious of the problem associated with employers discriminating against the unemployed when her friend showed her a genuine online job ad that eliminated unemployed candidates. In New Jersey, it is no longer lawful for employers to write in their job ads that unemployed persons will not be considered. New Jersey’s Governor Christie recently signed a bill that bans obvious discrimination against the unemployed in print or online — this is the first legislation of its kind in the United States. Companies would face a fine of $1,000 if convicted (first offense) and $5,000 for following offenses.
President Obama addressed this problem by including a provision in his jobs bill prohibiting discrimination against the jobless. The President’s plan calls for legislation that would make it unlawful to refuse to hire applicants solely because they are unemployed or to include in a job posting a provision that unemployed persons will not be considered.
Perhaps this will send a sufficient message to employers that unemployed job candidates have just as much to offer as the employed ones. This message was already accepted by one the largest online job boards. Indeed.com, which receives over 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in more than 50 countries, announced last month that it would no longer take ads from employers that discriminate based on employment status.
Unemployment Appeals Attorney
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