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LEGISLATION PROPOSED TO PREVENT EMPLOYERS FROM REFUSING TO CONSIDER JOBLESS APPLICANTS

July 20, 2011

Employers and employment agencies would be barred from refusing to consider out-of-work job applicants based on their status as unemployed under a bill introduced July 12 in the House. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D–Ga.) with 30 co-sponsors. The bill was referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

“In a tough job market, where workers are competing against tens and sometimes hundreds of others for every available job opening, it is unjust for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed,” DeLauro said. “We have seen ample evidence that unemployed individuals are increasingly falling prey to discriminatory practices reducing their opportunities to be considered for a job.”

The bill joins similar legislation introduced in March, also offered by Johnson, that would amend Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants based on their unemployment status.

In conjunction with the bill’s introduction, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), released a report that found that four of the top job search websites included more than 150 job advertisements that specified applicants must be currently employed. NELP’s snapshot of jobs postings identified more than 150 ads that included exclusions based on current employment status, including 125 ads that identified specific companies by name. The overwhelming majority of the offending ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.” CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com accounted for more than 75 percent of the exclusionary ads NELP identified. Staffing firms were prominently represented among those companies identified with the practice of excluding unemployed job seekers, accounting for about half of all the postings. 07-18-2011. Bureau of National Affairs.