OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Dems Propose Ban on Hiring Discrimination Against the Unemployed

July 18, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

One effect of the structural unemployment situation we are stuck in is that some employers have begun assuming that people who don’t have jobs must be bad workers and, therefore, shouldn’t be considered for hiring. Of course, that line of logic doesn’t comply with the facts of the situation. Since 2008, millions of people really have lost their jobs “through no fault of their own,” and the jobs market as a whole has shrunken. The U.S. economy is no longer accomodating the U.S. work force. Hence the stagnation in unemployment.

So, should Congress amend the labor laws to protect unemployed workers from hiring discrimination?

Rep. Rosa DeLauro [D, CT] and 30 other House Democrats introduced a bill to that effect last week, the “Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011.” Here’s how they make their case in the “findings” section of the bill’s text:

(a) Findings- Congress finds that denial of employment opportunities to individuals because they are or have been unemployed is discriminatory and burdens commerce by—

(1) reducing personal consumption and undermining economic stability and growth;

(2) squandering human capital essential to the Nation’s economic vibrancy and growth;

(3) increasing demands for State and Federal unemployment insurance benefits, reducing trust fund assets, and leading to higher payroll taxes for employers, cuts in benefits for jobless workers, or both;

(4) imposing additional burdens on publicly funded health and welfare programs; and

(5) depressing income, property, and other tax revenues that states, localities and the Federal Government rely on to support operations and institutions essential to commerce.

And here’s the proposal in a nutshell:

(b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to prohibit consideration of an individual’s status as unemployed in screening for or filling positions except where a requirement related to employment status is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to successful performance in the job and to eliminate the burdens imposed on commerce by excluding such individuals from employment.

Specifically, it would make it illegal for employers and employment agencies to do things like…

  • consider unemployment status and history in making hiring decisions;
  • publish in job posting that unemployed workers can not apply; and
  • block unemployed people from accessing information about job openings.

The only time it would be lawful for an employer to consider the unemployment status or history of applicant is “where an individual’s employment in a similar or related job for a period of time reasonably proximate to the hiring of such individual is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to successful performance of the job that is being filled.” [link to text]

What do you think? Is it time for Congress to intervene on this issue? Or are there better ways to help unemployed people get back to work?

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

  • lydiaford12 07/19/2011 4:07am

    I wanted to know more ways how unemployed get work? This would be an issue that really need attention to the government. But anyway, thank you for this informative blog post.

    Lydia Ford – Sewing Hem Pants

  • Naame 07/19/2011 3:52pm

    I fully support the cause, but how would this law be enforced effectively? Employers will still be looking at resumes which include job histories. Those who would discriminate against the unemployed will look for gaps in that history and make their decision based on that gap. I do not understand how the government can prove that discrimination took place, but if there is a way that it can be done within reason then I am all for it.

    I have not read the bill text in full so perhaps I am simply missing information.

  • nancym 07/20/2011 12:34pm

    Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to work for any company or organization that was so lacking in both common sense and knowledge about what the country has been going through in recent years with so many people being tossed out of jobs en masse, but most job applicants don’t have the luxury of narrowing their prospects to only sane companies.

    This is a step in the right direction, and I applaud the House Democrats and others supporting this bill. Wait and see how many House Republicans will show their true allegiances to big business and claim this is some kind of hindrance to the marketplace!

    The next step that should be taken is prohibiting use of credit reports in all job applications except possibly certain finance related jobs. It’s an invasion of privacy, and shows the same lack of common sense combined with the added arrogance and prejudice against those who have had to struggle through the last few years of this recession because of the greed of big corporations.

  • mshughes 07/21/2011 11:39am

    This is, without a doubt, the most ridiculous idea the Dims have come up with yet. Employers SHOULD discriminate based on an applicant’s prior BEHAVIORAL record. A smart employer obtains the relevant information from both the employer & the applicant about the circumstances surrounding any gaps in employment, and makes a decision about the dependability of the applicant based on those circumstances.

    It’s NOT within the government’s constitutional scope to release the people from accountability from their own actions, and it’s not “discrimination” to be held accountable for our choices.

    Folks, STOP giving the government the power to control our lives!! You’re giving away our LIBERTY!

  • mshughes 07/21/2011 11:52am

    This is, without a doubt, the most ridiculous idea the Dims have come up with yet. Employers SHOULD discriminate based on an applicant’s prior BEHAVIORAL record. A smart employer obtains the relevant information from both the employer & the applicant about the circumstances surrounding any gaps in employment, and makes a decision about the dependability of the applicant based on those circumstances.

    It’s NOT within the government’s constitutional scope to release the people from accountability from their own actions, and it’s not “discrimination” to be held accountable for our choices.

    Folks, STOP giving the government the power to control our lives!! You’re giving away LIBERTY!

  • mshughes 07/21/2011 11:52am

    “Comtemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen and then ask yourself, What should be the reward of such sacrifices… If ye love wealth better than freedom, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” – Samuel Adams

  • nancym 07/21/2011 8:10pm

    Apparently mshughes is not only from another planet, but another century. This isn’t even worth a reply, but I guess I can’t help myself, since it’s so typical of the blather about the unemployed having “behavioral problems.” As it turns out, a very large proportion of those unemployed qualified for, and have now exhausted, unemployment benefits, which proves that their loss of a job had nothing whatsoever to do with their behavior, but rather with a company shutting down or downsizing or moving overseas. You cannot GET unemployment benefits if you lose a job as the result of a company’s action, not yours, a fact of which this poster seems to be blissfully unaware.

    The only “behavior” we have to find accountable is that of those who are out to destroy the middle class, or maybe we should also hold accountable those who post on blog pages without any investigation of the facts whatsoever.

  • 5fires 07/22/2011 10:44am

    I think it’s admirable of the Democrats to do it, but like any discrimination, employers will find a way to do it without revealing themselves. It would be very difficult to prove. It would be a symbolic waste of time and energy. And I agree with NancyM -you wouldn’t want to work for a company with such reprehensible values.

  • pamwoods 12/09/2011 5:22am

    Indeed, Excellent points altogether, you simply gained a new reader. What might you recommend in regards to your submit that you simply made some days in the past?

    Pam Woods
    Causes of diarrhea

  • richarddelta 02/07/2012 10:39pm

    Great article again on this blog. thank you opencongress for providing me this info.
    Generator Reviews

  • fashion136 04/12/2012 2:33am

    Significantly much better in the future. pellet mill business

  • fashion136 04/12/2012 2:35am

    I really agree with you, your mind intems of letters. China led spotlight

  • fashion136 04/12/2012 2:37am

    In terms of letters. pellet mill business plan

  • fashion136 04/12/2012 2:39am

    Should prohibit discrimination against the unemployed.

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.