Being Unemployed Just Got Harder « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Being Unemployed Just Got Harder

EEOC Investigates Discrimination Against the Unemployed

A recent trend in on-line job ads has caught the attention of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  That agency is holding hearings at their Washington D.C. headquarters today on why some businesses are choosing to exclude the unemployed from consideration for job openings.

Lines like “must be currently employed” or “no unemployed candidates will be considered” have been appearing on on-line job listings and websites, enough to warrant the EEOC’s attention.  Apparently, the businesses running such ads would contend they are justified on the presumption that individual joblessness stems largely from performance problems rather than the slumped economy. While this is not overtly aimed at any particular sector of the unemployed (e.g., racial minorities, women, the disabled), the inquiry will focus on whether this practice has the effect of such unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin and the like.

While the unemployed are not a class protected against discrimination per se, there is not necessarily a correlation between being out of a job and the ability to perform one.  As such, it is probably best to steer clear of such language when seeking out a new hire.