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NJ Law Would Prohibit Discrimination Against Unemployed

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New Jersey State House by Tony the Misfit on Flickr

New Jersey State House by Tony the Misfit on Flickr

Today the New Jersey Legislature is scheduled to vote on an employment anti-discrimination law that would prohibit employers from posting job advertisements that imply or state that current employment is one of the prerequisites for the position. If passed, each violation of the law could cost employers up to $10,000.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate is around 9.5%; the practice of avoiding hiring the unemployed is a “double-whammy” according to one of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex): “It hurts the people looking for job, and it hurts employers too, because the employer takes a whole pool of people out of consideration who would probably fit the bill. It’s kind of a double-whammy.”

The proposed bill is actually grounded in a desire to protect the civil rights of the unemployed as a class similar to women, minorities, and others, but that type of “broad” coverage wasn’t embraced in the legislature; the current bill is what emerged, and provides the following:

1.    No employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee shall publish, in print or on the Internet, an advertisement for any job vacancy that contains one or more of the following:
a.     Any provision stating or suggesting that the qualifications for a job include current employment;
b.    Any provision stating or suggesting that the employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee will not consider or review an application for employment submitted by any job applicant currently unemployed; or
c.     Any provision stating or suggesting that the employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee will only consider or review applications for employment submitted by job applicants who are currently employed.

2.    Any employer who violates this act shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation, collectible by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development in a summary proceeding pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

What do you think about this law? Would you like to see something similar in your state?

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October 14th, 2010 at 9:23 am