Can an Employer Discriminate Against You in Hiring for Being Unemployed?
Sadly, probably so, according to the New York Times. The Times, reporting on the phenomenon of discrimination in hiring against the unemployed, notes that "[l]egal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race."
However, the Times further reports that New Jersey recently passed a law barring such discrimination, and states such as New York and Michigan may follow suit. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is also investigating to determine whether the practice disproportionately affects protected groups such as racial minorities and the elderly.
While the article states that such workers may have been laid off for incompetence, or that their skills may have stagnated due to long-term unemployment, it seems enormously unfair and even foolish to me to exclude applicants with both strong desire and financial needs from the hiring process. Wouldn't those workers be more likely to be grateful for their jobs and thus more likely to accept lower wages and accommodate employer demands? Or are there simply so many job seekers these days that employers can be arbitrary in their demands and still find good candidates?