Get ready for a new federally protected class: the unemployed

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

by Kathryn M. Nash, Esq.

Employers may be surprised to learn there is a growing movement to add the unemployed to the list of people who belong to a protected class. If leaders in the U.S. Senate and the EEOC have their way, it may no longer be legal for em­­ployers to show a preference to hire only those who are currently employed.

The idea that it’s easier to find a job if you already have a job is fairly widely accepted. Most people recognize that if you’re unemployed and looking for work, prospective employers might wonder what you did wrong to lose your old job.

Some employers have confirmed this theory by going so far as to create job advertisements that actually state a preference for applicants who are currently employed.

How prevalent is the problem?

The National Employment Law Proj­ect, a national advocacy organization for workers’ employment rights, conducted informal research on the issue earlier this year. It fo...(register to read more)

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