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Friday, October 28, 2016

Obama Jobs Bill Outlaws Discrimination Against Unemployed Americans

As the recession has deepened, many newly unemployed Americans have found that it is almost impossible to get a job, especially if they have been out of work for more than a year. This is because employers discriminate against the unemployed, often viewing them as rejects and poor workers that their previous employers got rid of for a reason. Jobless Americans become trapped in a cycle of unemployment and have little recourse, since it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against unemployed job applicants.

Fortunately, the situation may finally change if President Obama’s jobs bill is passed by Congress.

Mr. Obama’s jobs bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants because they are unemployed. Under the proposal, it would be “an unlawful employment practice” if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person “because of the individual’s status as unemployed.” Unsuccessful job applicants could sue and recover damages for violations, just like when an employer discriminates on the basis of a person’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

This protection for the unemployed is long overdue, given how many Americans have lost their jobs in the latest economic downturn.

The Labor Department reports that 14 million people are unemployed. About 43 percent of them — 6 million people — are classified as long-term unemployed, having been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Of that group, nearly 4.5 million have been unemployed for a year or more. The average duration of unemployment among jobless workers is 40 weeks, the longest in more than 60 years.

[New York Times]

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  • kurt.lorentzen

    You’ve got to be kidding, right? So now it’s discrimination for an employer to decide who they want to hire, not based on religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation, etc., but instead based some dreamt-up reason to justify some bureaucrat’s job? Now let’s see, if I need to lay someone off, and I want to be sure that my remaining payroll gives me the best ROI – that is, after all, why I’m in business – am I going to lay off my best worker? Of course not. Especially considering the Unions force me to pay my worst employee the exact same wages and benefits that I pay to my best employee! And if circumstances dictate that I do have to lay off some of my top talent, might I not send them down the road with a glowing letter of recommendation and a few suggestions of where they might apply for work? Maybe even grease the wheels on their behalf by making a few phone calls? When will you ever learn that free markets take care of themselves? And that goes double for the job force. Like it or not, not all workers are created equal in such things as motivation, work ethic, honesty, intelligence and skill to name a few. It’s just a plain fact that people who score high marks in those categories are likely to be employed regularly far more than those who don’t. Word gets around, reference calls are answered with less-than-glowing reviews in reference to poor workers. In short (and of course there are exceptions), the people who are out of work the most are in that position because they have to least to offer. So now what, an unemployment quota? A fine if you don’t hire people who have been unemployed for a ceertain length of time? You’ve already regulated, taxed, ordinanced and dictated what, when and how a business owner can (or more likely can’t) try to generate an honest living. Now yu want to force him or her to downgrade their employees? Based on what? Show me the study that proves that those sought-after values are equally as strong in people who’s unemployment claims are frequent and lengthy as they are in those who remain employed most of the time.