One of the ugliest side effects of the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression is the continuing practice among many employers of refusing to consider applications of job seekers who are unemployed.
But the New York City Council overwhelmingly (44-4) passed a bill yesterday that prohibits discrimination against the unemployed in hiring. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), said:
Refusing to consider qualified job-seekers for employment opportunities because they are unemployed is simply wrong-headed and unfair. The practice deepens the hardship of those struggling to return to the workforce and exacerbates the crisis levels of long-term unemployment that New Yorkers—and Americans across the country—continue to face.
Researchers at the UCLA Anderson School of Management documented the “pervasive” practice in a recent study, and a 2011 NELP report detailed the prevalence of job postings expressly limiting consideration to the “currently employed.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to veto the bill, but the 44-4 vote in favor of the bill makes his opposition moot.
The New York City legislation is the strongest in the nation. New Jersey and Oregon have passed laws regulating the exclusionary job postings, and Washington, D.C., passed a less far-reaching measure. In 2011, President Obama proposed legislation to prohibit discrimination against the unemployed nationally.