On the heels of another dismal jobs report earlier this month, U.S Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act, a measure to fight discrimination against the unemployed.
The bill would prohibit employers from ruling out applicants based on their employment status. DeLauro introduced the bill with U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia; it has 30 sponsors as of this writing.
“We have seen ample evidence that unemployed individuals are increasingly falling prey to discriminatory practices reducing their opportunities,” DeLauro said in a written statement.
According to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, popular online job listing websites indicate that “current employment [is] required” — or that those unemployed longer than a certain period of time need not apply.
Under the proposed legislation, such language would be prohibited.
NELP's Christine Owen called the practice “a perverse catch-22.” The report warned that discrimination against the unemployed may be even more pervasive than previously thought, noting that the discriminatory language showed up in job postings “throughout the United States … at virtually every skill level.”
The bill's supporters are hopeful for its success, as a poll conducted by Hart Research showed almost two-thirds of voters support a measure like the Fair Employment Opportunity Act.