Is It Unlawful to Shun Unemployed Job-Seekers in Recruiting and Hiring? (PLUS Journal Archive)

In this preview of an article from Issue XXIV, Volume 6 of the PLUS Journal (June 2011), author Robert G Chadwick, Jr. looks at how the EEOC views potential discrimination as it relates to the hiring (or not hiring) of unemployed job seekers.

Is It Unlawful to Shun Unemployed Job-Seekers in Recruiting and Hiring?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in April 2011 was 9%, but the rates were significantly higher for certain groups:

  • African Americans – 16.1%
  • Disabled persons – 14.5%
  • Hispanics – 11.8%
  • Women with families – 11.7% (not seasonally adjusted)

Given these statistics, it is not surprising that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has been on the lookout for potentially discriminatory recruiting and hiring practices by employers.  In the past several months, this focus has included employers which shun unemployed job-seekers in favor of employed job-seekers. Amongst the employer practices being scrutinized are (1) ads, job postings and recruiter searches which discourage or bar inquiries from the jobless, and (2) the use of unemployment status as a negative criterion in hiring decisions. 

So what does this attention mean for employers who prefer or restrict recruitment and hiring to candidates who are already employed elsewhere?  Under appropriate circumstances, it could mean potential liability under discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC.

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The Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) was founded in 1986 by industry professionals who recognized the need for a forum for individuals involved in the field of professional liability. The Society is a non-profit organization with membership open to persons interested in the promotion and development of the professional liability industry. Membership consists of over 6,500 individuals, representing over 1,000 companies active in the many fields of professional liability. PLUS currently receives the support of more than 200 companies through corporate membership. PLUS is recognized as the primary source of professional liability educational programs and seminars, assistance to its members to help serve clients, and information regarding professional liability. The Society is continually seeking new means to fulfill its mission statement and better serve its members.

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