Friday, September 30, 2011

Obama Fights Discrimination Against the Unemployed

     In a time of such high unemployment-and as I have made clear in previous posts I am one of the unemployed-it's great to know that some employers actively work against the unemployed ever working again. There has been a surge in ads the last few years that require applicants to already have a job to even be allowed an interview.

   Now however, advocates for the unemployed are cheered by a recent move by President Obama to not only ban such ads but to enable the unemployed to sue if they believe they have been discriminated against.;_ylt=AjTlshP0UnlcDUnZosRT1uKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNqOWtvMm4xBGNjb2RlA2N0LmMEcGtnA2JiNTMwOTJmLWIzMmUtM2E0NC1hOTk4LTA2ZWU4N2RkOWYyNgRwb3MDMQRzZWMDbW9zdF9wb3B1bGFyBHZlcgMyNGU2NDVmMC1lOTNlLTExZTAtYWZkMS02NTNiZWZhM2M1OTI-;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

   Not surprisingly there are advocates for employers decrying the move.

   Advocates for employers oppose the proposed ban. "We do not see a need for it," Michael Eastman of the Chamber of Commerce told the New York Times.

    "Lawrence Lorber, a labor law specialist who represents employers, told the paper the president's proposal "opens another avenue of employment litigation and nuisance lawsuits."

    "Louie Gohmert, a Republican representative from Texas, went further. He told the Times that the proposal would send the following message: "If you're unemployed and you go to apply for a job, and you're not hired for that job, see a lawyer. You may be able to file a claim because you got discriminated against because you were unemployed."

    Great to know that Mr. Eastman "doesn't see a need for it." After all he as job security. As for Rep. Gohmert I know the message you prefer: that employers have carte blanche to discriminate against the unemployed  out of the usual perversity that has enabled some to claim that we may at 9.1% unemployment already be approaching a "natural rate of unemployment."

   It's bad enough that we have  until now been unable to bring down unemployment. But how about the fact that some actively work against bringing it down like Eastman, Gohmer, et al.

   If Mr. Lorber is worried about opening another avenue he only needs to instruct his clients to close their current avenue for putting up The Unemployed Need Not Apply.


  1. In the unlikely event that this bill passes in its current form, I doubt that this anti-discrimination provision would do much to decrease unemployment, or even prevent active discrimination against the unemployed, to the extent that it exists.

    But, I don't know enough about the particulars to have an opinion on the other provisions. Some of them look promising, however.

  2. To the extent that it helps to simply have the President speak out to this issue I believe it is helpful-power of the bully pulpit as it were.

    I can't really deny your pessimism about it passing but still am glad Obama is speaking to this chutzpah. I do think simply defining "The Unemployed Need Not Apply" ads as illegal is very important. The more heat you put on employers the more they will think twice about posting such ads. They may decide that whatever their perverese incentive in this requirement including it in an ad may be more trouble than it's worth.

    That still leaves the enforcement mechanicsm the thing that needs to be defined. But it could at least give employers second thoughts about spelling it out so explicitly that they don't want to hire anyone who really needs a job.

    Again as the enforcement mechanism is not in place they can still refuse to hire the unemployed but at least they can't admit that this is their practice. As far as the idea that employees can sue, I admit that it would probably be quite a long shot in reality.

    If you have any better idea on how it could be enforced I am all ears!

  3. Flag Goofy Job Ads!

    Don't count on government intervention, it's time to take matters into our own hands. All of the job sites have a "flag" or "report" button on the pages the ads are hosted on. Click those buttons when you see an ad telling the unemployed not to apply, requiring a credit check for a position that does not handle money, or requiring a disproportionate amount of experience for a job (Such as 10 years of experience for an entry level position).

    It's time for the job seekers, the unemployed, and the employed who are just sick of what's going on to exercise their rights and...

    Flag Goofy Job Ads!

  4. Certainly can't hurt to do this. I do think Obama even speaking about this will put a "chilling effect" on some employers who wont want to risk it and maybe will put out fewer such ads.

    Certainly flagging these ads can't hurt either. We got to take what ever we can get.