In news that will possibly make your head explode, several states are considering legislation that would prohibit employers from exclusively seeking candidates that already have jobs:
State lawmakers say they see the bias turning up in a nation with an 8.3% unemployment rate: Companies that explicitly advertise that they won’t hire someone who isn’t currently employed.
The proposals from Connecticut to California range in scope from banning advertisements that require current employment to allowing unsuccessful job candidates to sue businesses under the same discrimination laws that apply to bias on the basis of religion, race, gender or national origin.
Yes, in order to get a job you must currently have a job. Apparently, employers regard the long-term unemployed as shiftless layabouts with an atrophied brain:
Employers often worry that job skills erode the longer people go without working and may pass over unemployed workers because they assume other managers didn’t hire them for good reason, said Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former U.S. Department of Labor economist.
“The longer you’re unemployed, the more likely you are to be perceived as a risky hire and the less likely you are to get a job,” Mr. Burtless said.
Ah, the beauty of a vicious cycle. Predictably, companies are none too pleased to have Uncle Sam forcing them to hire the unflushable turds of America’s workforce:
“We are challenging this. As a private employer, the government has no right in legislating how you hire and what’s in your business’s best interest,” said Robin Lord, an attorney for Crestek, Inc., a Ewing, N.J., maker of industrial cleaning systems.
I can certainly appreciate a company’s unwillingness to allow their human resources department to become an unemployment center; however, there must be some way to balance the needs of a company with the needs of those people who have been unfairly shuffled out of consideration for present employment. While some of the long-term unemployed might lack specific skills, surely not all of them do; requiring a person to have a job before they can even apply is patently ludicrous.
Unfortunately, since this is America, there’s little doubt as to who’ll win out on this issue. Compromises are dumb, anyway.