Is the EEOC planning to push for unemployed workers to be protected against discrimination under federal employment laws?
Yesterday, the EEEOC held a public meeting to “examine the treatment of unemployed job seekers.” According to EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien, the meeting “gave the Commission an important opportunity to learn about the emerging practice of excluding unemployed persons from applicant pools.”
Testimony was offered by some who claim that employers routinely discriminate against the unemployed in filling jobs while others contended that they don’t see it as a widespread problem.
“The use of an individual’s current or recent unemployment status as a hiring selection device is a troubling development in the labor market,” said Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center. She and others asserted that denying jobs to the unemployed has a disproportionate effect on women, individuals with disabilities and certain racial and ethnic minority groups.
Others expressed doubt about how widespread the practice is. James Urban of the law firm of Jones Day and others emphasized that excluding unemployed persons from consideration is uncommon, bad business and fails to constitute “due diligence” in the screening of job applicants.
Stay tuned for more.