States Weigh Bans On Discrimination Against Unemployed

discrimination against unemployedMaryland has joined a growing list of states considering legislation to protect the unemployed. Legislators there are weighing a bill that would prevent employers from limiting applications for open positions to only those currently holding jobs.

Advocates nationwide argue that such laws are needed given the millions of Americans who remain out of work, many of whom have been jobless for six months or more. But those allied with business interests say skills and worker readiness, which may have suffered during an extended period of unemployment, are legitimate criteria for determining applicants' suitability for open positions.

The proposed legislation would add the words "employment status" to the list of criteria -- such as race, age and religion -- that employers can't use in determining applicants' qualifications, The Baltimore Sun reports.

So far, only a handful of states have passed such laws, and the Maryland proposal is far from a shoo-in.

The issue was brought to light last year, after an informal, nationwide survey of online job-search sites by the National Employment Law Project found numerous employment ads that said job seekers "must be currently employed."

In a statement that accompanied its findings, the worker-advocacy organization called the practice "disturbing and unfair." The resulting publicity led some in Congress to call for legislation banning it.

There are no laws barring employers from discriminating against jobless applicants at the federal level. For that reason, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn't track such complaints, so the extent of the problem isn't known.

NELP policy co-director Maurice Emsellem told the Sun that it's difficult to determine how many job hunters have been affected by ads that include the discriminatory language. "No one wants to cop to the fact that they are doing it," he told the newspaper.

In seeking to bar employers from hiring only those currently employed, Maryland joins a growing list of states considering similar legislation.

As the Sun notes, New Jersey has already banned employers from discriminating against the unemployed in advertisements, while a comparable bill in Oregon awaits the governor's signature. Lawmakers in the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation.

According to NELP, more than a dozen other states are considering such legislation, though a more limited proposal in Colorado, which would have banned discrimination in ads but not in hiring, was voted down while in committee last month.

But backers in Maryland remain hopeful.

Says Jackie Gray, a Baltimore activist and supporter of the proposed law, "It's about changing minds or changing attitudes, and then changing behaviors of the employers and the people who represent the employers."

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Turtle Payne

And I thought it was because I was a 57 year old Caucasian female. I have 30 yrs experience in the insurance industry. What happened to longevity in the workplace. Of course we are going to be unemployed long term as no one will hire us. DAH! Frustrated & unemployed 3 yrs in Indiana. Don\'t even get me started on Walmart. Can you say DISCRIMINATION?

July 19 2013 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So.....another law is going to stop another form of discrimination? That's laughable. For every employer bias, there is a loophole waiting to hatch. I'm just surprised at the number of idiotic employers who overlook talented, smart people because they have an assumption-based attitude instead of a fact-based one.

August 10 2012 at 6:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And corporate losers who make the old timers suffer you better learn to box because if you are sent to Iran you might come home in a box!

March 21 2012 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm posting from Daily job cuts I am surprised AOL picked up my ID from here as on the site there are so many problems!
Best to get hired or get even. What do you have to lose if you can't retire until age 66 for full benefits?

Employer /HR people better hope there isn't a draft because Uncle Sam won't be coming for me they'll be coming for the younger wise guys including young corporate staff ! Keep screwing with older people an the economy just might make a 3rd World War your worst nightmare at this stage in your corporate career!

March 21 2012 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This as a very bad idea. I should be able to hire the one that I feel is best for the job. The unemployed are by far less intelligent than the employed. Now, before you get your hoodie in a tizzle, do your homework. This is a free country and the unemployed have at least the same chance I had to start a business.

March 21 2012 at 7:31 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Craigo's comment

Won't be free to you if caught in my state their already collecting fines an publishing names.

March 21 2012 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
me again

and as soon as another better paying job comes along the person will tell you to kiss their butt. This can happen a week, month or even several months down the road. An older employee is more responsible than a younger one and is apt to stay for years and not just a few months

February 16 2013 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There used to be a thing called respecting one's elders. Since that's been done away with through no-consequence parenting, the young and employed have ZERO respect for elders, and fail to take into consideration the economy caused these unemployed people to multiply, not their lack of skills. To those in the GOP who just say "Go and get a job!" to those they suspect are unemployed liberals, they sure are doing everything they can to prevent that.

March 21 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xak999's comment
me again

didn't you notice at the last State of the Union Address Obama is pushing for the young people to be the ones to have the jobs while there are no plans in helping those who are several years (over 40) to help them with the jobs that they can do. Young people can learn from the older employees. Just wait until this country because ALL spanish speaking and those who only know english will be left without work.

February 16 2013 at 10:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here in SC most people STAY on unemployment by choice. They fill out fake applications to places they know they are not qualified for, and will not be hired for, and ride the gravy train. BUT when their benefits run out.....a miracle happens. ....they immediately find work!! Then a good percentage of those work only long enough to qualify for benefits again, and then they get "let go", and go back on the dole again. I realize there ARE people genuinely searching for work and WANT to get off unemployment.....but the majority down here seem to just want to milk the system for all they can. It's sick.

March 21 2012 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yesiam2000's comment

There are a few in many states that milk the system but with this job market few will take that chance so your just spilling milk.

March 21 2012 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

REALLY? Does anyone really believe passing a law will make employers not discriminate? How stupid are you? How can anyone pove why they were not hired? Another law is useless. More and more and more laws, are not the answer! Laws are broken every day. Maybe you didn't get hired because your fat or ugly or don't fit the companies youthful, hip cutting edge image. Should we pass laws for that too? How can you prove it??? You can't! Stop with the "pass a law" nonsense! Are you willing to pay to bring a law suit you can't prove? Passing laws is a "feel good measure" for sheep! Get real!

March 21 2012 at 2:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fidonv's comment

Plenty of eye whitnesses will rat you out just for the personal satisfaction it brings.

March 21 2012 at 8:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Needles Ca.

thank you bush for this bad economy.....

March 21 2012 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mr. Needles Ca.'s comment

Way off. It was the liberal house under the last 2 to 3 years of Bush that caused trouble. They could not keep their hands out of my pockets, nor could they stop themselves from adding so many regulations to our business owners that it became nearly impossible for them to hire.

March 21 2012 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Second the motion. The motion has passed an will become law immediately.

March 21 2012 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

some folks just wont go to work..they like entitlements..I know quite a few...they are making their own bed....

March 21 2012 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to grundoboy's comment


Do you REALLY think that being on benefits pays as much as a real job? The unemployed are NOT comfortable.

March 21 2012 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Do you REALLY think that being on benefits pays as much as a real job? The unemployed are NOT comfortable.

March 21 2012 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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