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August 13, 2011


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I too give this advice, all the time. Don't only hang on to a job you hate, bounce in with a smile on your face and a good morning to everyone. Do your very best while you keep looking.

I saw this as well. Went to a job fair in Pittsburgh. Got their early. The person signing us said we all had to meet before entering the job fair. At that meeting she announced that anyone who was self-employed or unemployed would not be considered for these positions. They were all sales positions. I am not sure how being laid off from a company that went broke prevents you from selling copy machines....

Sounds like a slam dunk discrimination lawsuit. Any company that is foolish enough to put this policy in writing is begging to be sued into oblivion. Basing job eligibility on current employment status is no different that basing it on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Who needs a jon when you've got a multi-million dollar settlement check?


I think you might need a little brushing up on legal slam dunks.

First of all basing job eligibility on current employment status does not have anything in common with basing it on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Those are all protected classes. Employment status is not a protected class.

Second, this might sound like an illegal discrimination but it's not. Not all discrimination is illegal only protected class discrimination is illegal. Discrimination is what hiring is all about. Those without a Bachelors degree need not apply. Those without experience in skill X need not apply. Those without certifications or licenses in Y need not apply. These are simply discriminations designed to weed out those who are less qualified or under or un-qualified. Some companies have now decided that unemployed is very likely to mean you are less qualified. Rightly or wrongly that is what they are doing to reduce the huge stacks of job applicants they are getting.

As a result The state of New Jersey just passed a specific law making it illegal for companies to explicitly state this in their ads. The law does not say that they can't actually practice this policy. Furthermore this law specifically states that anyone who is discriminated against in this fashion has NO PRIVATE COURSE OF ACTION against the offending business. Instead the offending company can be civilly fined for not more than $1000 for the first offense, not more than $5000 for the second offense and not more than $10,000 for the third offense.

If New Jersey had to pass a special law to address this exact situation. A law that doesn't even prevent a company from using it as hiring criteria, only as advertising criteria, and one that specifically prohibits any applicant from bringing a private lawsuit against the offending company, I think it's pretty safe to assume that the existing laws do not provide any protection against this type of hiring practice.

And this law will not help the unemployed because if the company intends to follow this policy they will simply put your application in the round file. You will not be considered either way. You were better off when you knew which jobs you should spend your time applying too. Now, in NJ at least, you won't know, and you will spend lots of time filling out applications at companies who will never even review your application because they have been prevented by law from telling you that you do not meet their hiring criteria.

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