A federal agency warns that some employers are excluding jobless workers from consideration for openings.
The practice has surfaced in electronic and print postings with language such as “unemployed applicants will not be considered” or “must be currently employed.” Some ads use time thresholds to exclude applicants who’ve been unemployed longer than six months or a year.
With unemployment at 9 percent and millions of people struggling to find jobs, the practice has caught the attention of regulators, lawmakers and advocates for the unemployed.
“At a moment when we all should be doing whatever we can to open up job opportunities to the unemployed, it is profoundly disturbing that the trend of deliberately excluding the jobless from work opportunities is on the rise,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
Members of Congress contacted the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year to see whether the practice violates federal employment laws against discrimination.
While the unemployed aren’t a protected class under civil rights laws, the practice could be legally problematic if it has a disparate or discriminatory effect on groups of job seekers who are subject to civil rights protections.