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Another state ponders ‘anti-unemployed’ bias

June 3, 2011 by James Russo
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News and Views, Legal and compliance, Recruiting

More and more states — and the federal government — are looking at legislation mandating the specific wording of job ads so that they don’t discriminate against the unemployed.

The latest to craft a proposal is New York, where legislators are considering a bill that would specifically bar employers from running ads that say, for instance, “The applicant must be employed …”  (New Jersey already has a ban, making it illegal for employers to post jobs that state employment as a condition of either applying for or being hired for the position. And the U.S. Congress is considering a bill, the Fair Employment Act, which would amend federal discrimination rules to prohibit hiring practices that are biased against the unemployed.)

How would such laws work in practice? Let’s say, for example, you’re looking for a low-level IT person, but one who has some experience in information technology.

  • What you cannot say in your ad: “The applicant must be employed in a similar IT position.”
  • What you can say in your ad: “The applicant must have experience in a similar IT position.”

The difference being, of course, that’s it would be OK to require experience, but it wouldn’t be OK to require that the person be currently employed. You may want to start thinking about wording your ads suitably to get a step ahead.

 

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