Unemployed Need Not Apply
Written by Lynn Goya,
One would think that in these tough times, there would be little stigma associated with being unemployed. One would be wrong. Increasingly, companies are subtly and overtly discarding the resumes of those who apply for a new position if the applicant is not currently working for someone else. In New Jersey help wanted signs and job announcements that stated “no unemployed candidates will be considered” or “must be employed” became so prevalent that the state recently passes a law prohibiting the practice.
Three Democrats from the state assembly, Peter J. Barnes III, Elease Evans and Celeste Riley, introduced state legislation that would make it illegal for employers to tell unemployed workers they could not apply for an open job. Approved last year, the bill was vetoed by the Governor Christy when it included language that would have included the unemployed as a category of those covered in anti-discrimination law. The new bill prohibits employers from publishing an advertisement that excludes unemployed job seekers, but does not offer protection if the discrimination is less overt.
New Jersey businesses are not alone in shunning the jobless, according to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
While no federal legislation is pending that will add unemployed workers to job discrimination protection and no one thinks the law can keep employers from more subtly crossing off those without a job from their hiring lists, making current employment a caveat for future employment is the equivalent of kicking those who are down, many say, and will hurt the country’s long-term employment prospects.
In addition, certain sectors will be more hurt than others by this particular jobs (or jobless) trend. Veterans, especially those under 24, have extremely high rates of unemployment, as do the young, minorities, older workers. If future jobs simply are unavailable because someone doesn’t have a current job, some fear the most vulnerable will become a permanent underclass.
Tomorrow: Unemployment Still at Record Highs
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