Employers to Long-Term Jobless: 'You Need Not Apply'

Long-Term Jobless As if being unemployed itself wasn't challenging enough, companies routinely exclude long-term jobless applicants from being considered for job openings, a new report finds.

Despite increased scrutiny and strong public opposition to the practice, employers and staffing firms continue to deny job opportunities to those workers hardest hit by the economic downturn, according to the report, released by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy organization.

"This disturbing and unfair practice appears to be more pervasive than previously thought," Christine Owens, NELP executive director, said in a statement accompanying release of the report.

An informal NELP survey conducted March 9 to April 5 on popular job-posting websites, including Monster.com, Craigslist, CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com, found numerous employment ads that said job seekers "must be currently employed."

Roadblock to Recovery

"This pernicious practice adds a tremendous burden for unemployed workers as they look for jobs," Owens says, adding that there is little sense for such discrimination.

"It is debilitating to workers -- particularly the long-term unemployed -- and it hampers economic recovery," she says.

The report follows last week's release of June employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor showing continued weakness in the labor market. Employers created a meager 18,000 jobs overall, and the nation's unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent -- or about 14.1 million people.

Of those, NELP says, about 6.3 million, or 44 percent, have been without work for six months or longer.

They include Michelle Chesney-Offutt, a 53-year-old Illinois resident, who told NELP that she was denied further consideration for a position, despite a 19-year-work history, because she had been unemployed for more than six months.

Chesney-Offutt said that she was "absolutely stunned" when told by a recruiter that the vetting process wouldn't proceed further because of an " 'over-6-month-unemployed' policy that his client adhered to."

A recent poll showed that 80 percent of adults described such practices as "very unfair," with another 10 percent saying that it's simply "unfair." Further, those responding to the poll supported by 2-to-1 a ban on companies who refuse to hire or consider qualified job applicants solely because they're currently unemployed.

The companies range from staffing companies to auto dealerships and colleges to restaurants, and in their ads state that applicants must be "currently employed" or use similar language. Here's a sampling:

The release of the NELP report coincides with the introduction Tuesday of new legislation in the House of Representatives by two Democratic members, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Henry Johnson Jr. of Georgia, to prevent employers from discriminating against the jobless.

Known as the Fair Employment Opportunity Act, the bill would prohibit employers and employment agencies from screening out or excluding job applicants solely because they are unemployed.

"It is unjust for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed," DeLauro said in statement. "We have seen ample evidence that unemployed individuals are increasingly falling prey to discriminatory practices reducing their opportunities to be considered for a job."

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Seaangel 7

These companies should not be "paid off" to hire the unemployed. This whole thing is un- American & beyond laughable and makes me wonder who is at the helm of these companies to begin with. The sole reason there are unemployed people out there is because THEY, for whatever inane reason, won't hire them. There is no reason for it that I can see other than what I call " the reality show mentality" which seems to be what's going on out there. Companies are simply laying off higher paid employees & hiring cheaper ones. - plain & simple. There is a whole pool of highly qualified people who can be got at a bargain basement price right now. WHY these managers aren't able to figure this out, I don't know. These companies will also be directly responsible for further destroying the economy & the housing market making things a whole lot tougher than they are now. I think it's time for them to turn off "The Weakest Link" & start using their noodles a little bit.

December 18 2011 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ridiculous. As an employer I love getting a new hire who is currently unemployed. They can start immediately, they rarely negotiate for more $$, and they're grateful to have a job so they tend to have a better work ethic. Those employers are missing out on a great resource!

July 25 2011 at 11:29 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

With millions of people out of work, this is a simpler way to fill a position. Looking at 500 resumes to fill one position, I would do the same thing. Those that are layed off first are most likely seen as dead wood in their last company. Those that are still working are seen as the top crop of the company and those are the ones companies want to hire. I have seen many goof offs in companies that got the boot first and those people are still out of a job one year later. Would you want to hire them? Maybe it's not all but how do you know which one? It's much easier for a company to siffed thru thousands of resumes and just pick those who still have a job. Doesn't help those out of a job but that's called life!!!

July 24 2011 at 10:40 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

Emplyoment status (employed or unemployed) is not a protected status. Therefore discrimination based upon employment status is perfectly legal.

People always talk about discrimination like its a bad thing. Its not. If you are choosing between two identical twin brothers and you go with the brother that attended Harvard and not Boston Community College, the choice to hire the Harvard brother is an act of discrimination. So what?

Its only when discrimination is done on the basis of impermissible reasons (i.e. sex, race, color, age, national origin, religion) that there is any legal remedy.

Also, as another poster commented, the 'no long term unemployed' is really a proxy for other things.

July 21 2011 at 9:08 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gustabus02's comment

You sound like ******** employer !!!

August 22 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hasnt anybody stopped to ask or consider why employers are doing this? i know. its because anybody who really wants to work gets a job and NEVER goes that long before getting a job even if its not in your field. i know plenty of places that are hiring and cant keep enough people all the time but those 'educated job snobs' who think its smarter to not work than work somewhere thats beneath them dont apply or are too lazy . cause thats what its about i wouldnt want to hire any1 who hasnt had a job for that long because its a safe assumption theyre lazy

July 21 2011 at 6:33 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

What is next? This is blatant discrimination! I hope someone sues their pants off and wins a huge settlement so they don't ever have to look for a job again. Also hope whoever put that policy into play will be FIRED with NO SEVERANCE PACKAGE. Let them see what it is like to search for a job.

July 20 2011 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shelly's comment

What are they going to sue for exactly?

July 21 2011 at 9:09 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

You know, I have seen this article in various incarnations, for at least a year. In none of the articles that I have seen has anyone asked the hiring people why they are doing this. I'd be curious to hear the answer.

July 18 2011 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joey's comment
Noël Hollis

They do it, specifically in technology feilds, because if you are out of work for over 6 months your skills have usually degraded to the point where they're going to need to spend a lot of money to bring you up to speed.
Also, if you're unemployed for over six months and not just our of college, they assume there's something wrong with you. This may or may not be true, but they would prefer to weed out some of the people it's untrue about along with the people it's true about. There are more than enough people still looking for jobs out there.

July 21 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This blatantly discriminatory policy is brought to you by the geniuses in corporate HR departments. HR people just think stuff like this up, to justify their existence (and expense). You know who goes into HR? People who have finished college without any real skills or practical knowledge. In other words, people who can't do anything else but need an office with a door. Think about all the dumb things related to people on the job (no hire if long term unemployed, creative methods for laying people off, sacking people for harassment without real proof, etc) and note that they all come from HR.

July 18 2011 at 11:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If Obama doesnt get us out of this mess then the economy could take another 2-3 yrs to recover. Time to send the troops home the war has gone on long enough.

July 17 2011 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its companies like the ones that discriminate just because one has been unemployed for a long time is the reason many people stay unemployed.

July 17 2011 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kristen's comment

Kristen, you couldnt be more accurate. I have seen positions remain open for over 6 months because they are looking for the perfect candidate. I was denied a position simply because I remained with one company for several years and didnt job hop.

March 21 2012 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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