Out of Work? Out of Luck

In a public meeting, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) examined the impact of employers considering only those currently employed for job vacancies.

Throughout its 45 year history, the EEOC has identified and remedied discrimination in hiring and remains committed to ensuring job applicants are treated fairly,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Today’s meeting gave the Commission an important opportunity to learn about the emerging practice of excluding unemployed persons from applicant pools.”

According to Helen Norton, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, employers and staffing agencies have publicly advertised jobs in fields ranging from electronic engineers to restaurant and grocery managers to mortgage underwriters with the explicit restriction that only currently employed candidates will be considered.

The use of an individual’s current or recent unemployment status as a hiring selection device is a troubling development in the labor market,” said Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for Education and Employment of the National Women’s Law Center in a testimony transcript released by the EEOC.

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