Unbelievably, the United States, known for its many workplace anti-discrimination laws, does not currently have a law banning discrimination against being unemployed. According to a report recently released by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a Washington, D.C. advocacy group, they found nearly 150 ads from Careerbuilder, Monster, Indeed and Craigslist that openly discriminated against potential candidates, asking them not to apply unless they were currently employed.
What If A Job Posting Said Fat People Need Not Apply?!
The director of strategy and policy, Alan Charney, at USAction, a grassroots progressive coalition fighting against this practice, said, "Just as a company would not dare say 'African Americans need not apply' or 'Jews need not apply,' it is outrageous that any company in this day and age would explicitly ban unemployed workers from employment."
Proposed Amendment To Anti-Discrimination Law
While no law will prevent this sort of discrimination from occurring covertly, there has recently been legislation, the Fair Employment Act of 2011, introduced in Congress by Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Henry Johnson of Georgia, that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and prohibit employers and staffing agencies from refusing to consider unemployed applicants.
On the other side of the coin, Monster, which came under fierce criticism from USAction for running these sorts of ads, is challenged with earning revenues in a sluggish economy. If their third-party advertisers want to discourage unemployed workers from applying for employment, why shouldn't they be able to? Monster has asked USAction to stop singling them out. The question is, why are companies doing this?
So Many Applicants, So Little Time
A recruiter suggested that the reason companies may not want a lot of unemployed applicants is that it can really clog the system, making it hard to find the 'cream of the crop'. Even with today's applicant tracking systems, sifting through candidates can be exceedingly time consuming and costly.
Companies figure that people who are unemployed for any length of time are not as desirable; but there are many reasons why people leave their jobs. Very qualified executive level candidates may decide to take a sabbatical for travel, family, education, or other personal reasons. "The unemployed are NOT the unemployable."
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