One of the more frustrating aspects of the recession and the resulting layoffs is that businesses were hesitant to hire people that had been unemployed. As the recession deepened and jobs became even more scarce, the longer those periods of unemployment became for those unemployed. This resulted in what has been viewed as discrimination against those that had been unemployed, and were refused opportunities because of their absence from the workforce.
In light of this perceived hiring bias, a bill has recently been introduced in Congress titled the “Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2014.” This bill aims to prohibit discrimination of a job candidate based on the fact that they have been unemployed either for a brief or an extended period of time. Local restrictions have already been put in place in Madison, WI, New York City, Washington, DC, New Jersey and Oregon. These restrictions have been put in place to curb the ability of an employer to refuse to hire people because they are unemployed.
In 2011, the EEOC determined that this type of discrimination also adversely affects certain groups of workers. These groups include racial and ethnic minorities, women, older workers and individuals with disabilities.
The proposed bill would apply to employers with 15 or more employees, and would also apply to employment agencies. Under the new law, it will be unlawful to a) refuse to consider for employment or refuse to hire an individual because of their status as unemployed; b) publish in print, on the Internet or in any other medium, an advertisement for any job that includes an individual’s status as unemployed as a disqualifying factor, and 3) limit, segregate or classify individuals in any manner because of their status as unemployed.
If passed, the unemployed will have the backing of this law to help them gain the opportunities needed to land a job.