A number of commentators, the EEOC among them, have noted with alarm that employers seem to be ruling out unemployed applicants when they are filling vacancies. Many people who lost their jobs in the recession (you have heard it’s over, right?) remain unemployed. Employers’ insisting on currently hired people just continues the plodding pace of the recovery, and is simply unfair.
A new bill introduced in Congress would outlaw the use of unemployed status when hiring. Under that bill, an employer would be forbidden from considering unemployment, or publicly stating that it would only consider currently employed people for job openings.
As with all failure to hire cases, proof will not be easy. When someone is discriminated against on the job, the events of discrimination may be frequent, or at least witnessed by someone whom the employee knows. When someone applies for a job, he is unlikely to have friends on th inside. Unless the interviewer makes his bias obvious, the applicant can seldom tie his failure to get the job to illegal discrimination.
If the link can be made, though, this law does ease the damage proof. The person who suffered the discrimination can claim $1,000 per day, or the actual damages from the failure to hire, along with compensatory and punitive damages.
Obviously Congress is busy now with other things (or so we hope). But there is probably not a strong constituency against this bill, except that some factions don’t like any new causes of action.