Rebecca DixonBack to OpinionRebecca Dixon

Bigger hurdles, than dismal job growth for unemployed

Ashley Perkins, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., stands in line with military veterans on June 26, 2012, in Detroit. The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week, but the level of applications remains too high to signal a pickup in hiring. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Across the nation, unemployed Americans suited up and headed to hundreds of job fairs in June, promoted by the U.S. Labor Department as “American Job Fair Month.”

Imagine that you, an unemployed worker, have waited in a long line for hours to get into a job fair, but when you finally reach the door, you’re turned away. Your rejection has nothing to do with your qualifications or even your attire. The attendant takes one look at your resume and points to a sign on the door that reads “Unemployed need not apply.”

Sounds crazy, right? But a version of this scenario is playing out for a nation of job hunters, online and elsewhere, every day. Numerous job ads posted on some of the nation’s premiere job search websites state that only people who are currently employed will be considered.

“No unemployed candidates will be considered at all,” said a marketing job posting from a global phone manufacturer in Georgia. We will “not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason,” read an ad by a Texas electronics firm seeking an engineer. And a California job ad for an experienced travel agent posted this March on Craigslist, explicitly states “only those currently employed need apply.”

Out of work job seekers began speaking up about this problem last year, describing these kinds of restricted job postings. One study that sampled online job posts for a few weeks unearthed more than 150 “unemployed-need-not-apply” job ads across a wide range of industries, in what may be only the tip of the iceberg. With 12.7 million Americans currently unemployed, this practice has far-reaching consequences for our nation’s unemployed and their families.

Unemployed workers already face an incredibly tough job market without these barriers. Despite recent job gains, there are still more than three times as many unemployed workers as there are job vacancies. Given these odds, it’s no surprise that long-term unemployment—defined as out of work for more than six months—is at a crisis level, affecting more than 4 in 10 unemployed Americans. Worse still, nearly one in three unemployed workers has been out of work for a year or more.

Disturbingly, advanced levels of education are not insulating workers from long-term unemployment. A worker with a doctorate is as likely to be long-term unemployed as a worker with a high-school diploma.

Some employers justify the exclusion of the unemployed by labeling these workers as damaged goods. Employers may feel that their skills have deteriorated, or speculate that they were let go because of poor job performance. But this reading misses the mark. The simple fact is that the recession and its aftermath swept away the jobs of millions of hardworking Americans who are hungry for a fair chance of getting back to work.

Fortunately, a few states are leading the way in enacting prohibitions against unemployment discrimination. New Jersey and Oregon have outlawed discriminatory ads. In March, the District of Columbia was the first jurisdiction to outlaw the practice of discrimination against the unemployed in hiring outright rather than just outlawing the ads. Similar bills were under consideration in 19 other states this year.

The practice of refusing to accept job applications from the unemployed does not currently violate any federal laws, but there is movement within both houses of Congress to change that. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act would make it unlawful for employers and job recruiters to exclude the unemployed from consideration simply because of their unemployment status. Congress should act immediately to pass the bill and remove this unnecessary barrier for unemployed workers.

The Labor Department recently reported that the economy added 80,000 jobs in June. As the economy improves, unemployed workers will hopefully have a better chance of finding work, but not if employers shut them out of the application process indiscriminately. Excluding currently-unemployed workers from new job openings is unfair and should not be tolerated.

 

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Carrington/100000981816881 Sandy Carrington

    If the job fairs were conducted under the auspices of the Obama administration it is no wonder thet were a dismal failure…Everything Obama touches turns sour….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1813470989 Jim Morris

    Your proof for that remark is? As far as I can tell, the dumbest thing Obama has done is to take the job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1813470989 Jim Morris

    As a former head hunter, I can tell you that the reason companies do this is  because of the cost of hiring enough people in the HR depts to go through the resumes and also as another, veiled, form of age, race and sex discrimination. “The other company managed to get rid of their problems, why do we want to take them on”?

  • Cindy

    So big deal, they can’t list “unemployed need not apply” in their ads/postings but they can still not hire anyone that is unemployed and that is what needs to stop. If an unemployed person is qualified for the job then the company better have a damn good reason why they weren’t hired. And that reason should be taken to the labor board and checked to see if it is legitimate or just and excuse. These employers have to stop the bs. The reason they don’t hire the unemployed is because they are qualified for the job and the company doesn’t want to pay them the money they are worth. 

  • guest

    Unemployed need not apply? Why?
    Why would anyone apply if he or she is employed?
    Employers should know first if they really need people.
    Don’t advertise if there is no need for people.
    Don’t waste others valuable time and employers should not indulge in useless unwanted advertisements.
    All these paperwork and cost cutting business strategies have gone down the tube.

  • Rasmussencraig

    Congress could end this…end all tax deductions for companies that do this.  Trust me, they’d be hiring the unemployed as fast as they could.

  • Evangelistrachelrodgers

    Although I have, thankfully never run across a disclaimer like as was described in the story, I find it absolutely absurd!
    The nerve, the gall. Who needs a job more than the unemployed?  A wealth of talent, and skills are being wasted; left idol, and untouchable.
    How foolish.
    This type of filter should be added into the federal list of discriminations to prevent fools from continuing on with this practice of …well, discrimination.
    Meanwhile, everyone should boycott these companies that dare to increase the strangle hold on the already- in -need- of- resuscitation economy.

  • Evangelistrachelrodgers

    Right on point.
    He is the beast of Revelation Ch.13 (KJV)/Daniel 7:25 (KJV)

  • guest

    Some of the sentences from the above are very interesting and do not always apply to every situation:

    Your rejection has nothing to do with your qualifications or even your attire. The attendant takes one look at your resume and points to a sign on the door that reads “Unemployed need not apply’.
    Job search websites state that only people who are currently employed will be considered – “No unemployed candidates will be considered at all,”

    If they are employed, why would anyone waste time looking for work?

    Disturbingly, advanced levels of education are not insulating workers from long-term unemployment. A worker with a doctorate is as likely to be long-term unemployed as a worker with a high-school diploma.

    That is really true. I had two PhD candidates looking for work. They were all turned down. I asked them why. They said they were rejected because they were over-qualified. Whereas another candidate got his job. He said he has got a PHD. I did not know what his branch specialization was. So I asked him politely what his area of specialty was.  He said he does not have any crap.
    He has got a Public Highschool Diploma. That was his PHD.
    That is what America needs today. We do not need any expensive high sounding University Degree or Executive Diploma from Ivy League Schools.
    It is time to close down all the colleges and unversities in this country and open up many public schools that give Public High-school Diploma.
    Wouldn’t that be better if all the people with high school diploma got jobs?
    Instead of giving $100 for 10 people, give $10 for 100 people. Every household in this country will have jobs.

    As the economy improves, unemployed workers will hopefully have a better chance of finding work, but not if employers shut them out of the application process indiscriminately. Excluding currently-unemployed workers from new job openings is unfair and should not be tolerated.

    As the economy improves, ….
    This is just a consolation. That is not going to happen in the near future.
    At this rate, our economy will never change. There is no quick fix for that.
    Our education does not help people find suitable jobs. That is why MicroSoft Chief Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard. He knew that our education system does not help entrepreneurs like him to develop business skills in this country

    As a skillful doctor, it is always better to diagnose the problem first before recommending a treatment. We need to find out why we ended up like this in the first place. It is obvious that many American students lack English and Math skills at the high school level before they can even venture to get into college.
    That is another reason why Bill Gates opened MicroSoft branch in India, instead of China or other Asian countries.

    Let us look at our school curriculum and see how we can improve and produce more qualified candidates and move them into workforce.

  • Unemployed Rising

    Employers have every right to select for hire the most
    qualified applicants who apply for open jobs. There are bona fide cases
    where an applicant who is currently working is the most qualified one, but this
    can’t ALWAYS be the case as there is currently a tremendous pool of skilled, but unemployed workers within the U.S. economy who want to work.

    Turning away job applicants solely on the grounds of
    their employment status is unfair, discriminatory, bad for the economy, and
    must be prohibited under federal, state, and municipal law. It is also generally considered a poor human
    resources practice to exclude a job candidate for a personal reason or if a
    bona fide qualification of current employment for a position is absent.

    There
    may be no reason to be pessimistic about the likely effectiveness of new laws
    that would prohibit discrimination in hiring based on unemployment status.
    While unemployment discrimination is typically difficult to prove, this does not mean that it should be allowed, and banning hiring decisions
    based on the current or very recent employment of job applicants would be a
    strong move in the right direction towards making this a universally
    unacceptable employment practice within the United States.

    In absence of any law banning unemployment discrimination, there is no legal recourse
    for aggrieved job applicants when actual cases of discrimination occur unless
    they happen to currently belong to protected class under employment law and can
    claim that they have been subject to disparate impact. Once laws that protect unemployed job applicants from discrimination exist, public sector resources will need to be committed to
    compliance and enforcement. Both employers and job applicants will need to
    carefully document each step in the job application and interview process so
    that each will be able to support their defenses and claims when investigations
    of unemployment discrimination do occur. 

  • E148

    At Fort Dix, A company will not hire you if you’ve been unemployed for too long.

  • guest

    This is nothing unusual . The only ones who have jobs now are politicians. They can say anything and gather some group of people to follow even if what they say or do may not materialze or contribute anything useful. The leaders can survive as long as they have someone to follow them. That is how many things are done and people interact. People do not worry about long term.
    They are more concerned about what they can get now than what they are going to get five years from now.There is no need to have a goal or define one. You are not sure what you are going to get five years from now. Then why worry about your goals ? That is how most private companies including banks and tire shops operate here. One bank is opened. A few weeks later, another banks comes and takes over this bank. Universities, Schools, and Colleges do the same thing. They have huge buildings and auditoriums. Later they notice they do not have that many students and cut down their number of courses. They lay off teachers and lower the enrollment. Naturally when they reduce teachers and remove courses, they need to increase somewhere.
    Now increase the tuition fees.
    Are the college professors, administrators, and teachers uneducated? No.
    Are they not aware of the demand and supply side of economics? Yes.

    So what is the problem? Why is our economy so bad? Why are our schools, colleges, and universities so expensive that we are not able to provide the right kind of education than those in other couintries?

    Americans should think.