Thursday, February 17, 2011

There Oughta Be A Law

I learned, via Kevin Drum, that there is a particularly nasty bit of discrimination being used by those employers who are finally doing some hiring: those currently unemployed need not apply.

...there's a growing trend of employers refusing to consider the unemployed for job openings, according to a number of people who testified before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday. They say that employers are barring the unemployed from job openings, which is particularly unfair to older workers and African Americans because more of them are unemployed.

Yes, the demographics of old and African American are important, but the story is just as angry-making for younger lily-white people as well. The avowed reason for excluding the currently unemployed is that these people have been away and missed a lot of important innovations. They would have to be trained anew.

Say, what?

I hadn't realized that restaurant management was in the throes of installing a revolutionary new paradigm, or that machinists from a year ago missed out on the latest round of earthshaking and complicated new software which would take an experienced worker too much time to learn.

What I suspect is that employers are blaming the workers for being unemployed. It's their fault for being laid-off/terminated by companies downsizing or closing operations because of the horrendous economy. I suspect employers also see the currently unemployed as slackers, people who are just too used to sitting at home watching daytime television while waiting for their unemployment checks.

Shiftless. Ignorant. Subhuman.

Sound familiar? It should.

"Excluding unemployed workers from employment opportunities is unfair to workers, bad for the economy, and potentially violates basic civil rights protections because of the disparate impact on older workers, workers of color, women and others," said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, in her testimony.

Like I said up top: there oughta be law.



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