Legal experts told the [New York] Times that explicitly barring unemployed people from applying does not qualify under the statutory definition of discrimination, since unemployment is not a federally protected status like age or race. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently set out to establish whether employers were discriminating against certain protected groups because they are overrepresented in the ranks of the unemployed, such as African-American and older workers. (We covered that meeting here.) New Jersey recently passed a law barring employment ads that seek to rule out applications from those who are unemployed.
Even if the practice of weeding out unemployed applicants doesn't fit the legal definition of discrimination, it sure feels unfair for the more than 6.3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months to be told they are automatically disqualified for the few openings that are out there. "I feel like I am being shunned by our entire society," Kelly Wiedemer, an unemployed information technology specialist, told the Times.
See previous IPBiz post
New Jersey leads the nation in new legislation area concerning employment ads