What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You!

As unemployment stagnates, even though the economy is starting to pick up, there has been something of a backlash from discarded employees. Apparently, unemployed candidates are not considered to be viable candidates – at least according to rumors I’ve heard and from various recruitment blogs and other on-line sources.

It has always been the case that candidates who aren’t working are at a disadvantage. The hiring manager often believes the unemployed candidate’s work-skills are lagging.

Thinking this isn’t against the law, or is it?

Well, this “dirty” little secret is out; the unemployed masses have caught on to this practice, according to an article in the April 2011 issue of - Treasury & Risk:

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s interest suggests companies should tread carefully. While there’s no law that prohibits employers from refusing to consider job applicants who are unemployed, the EEOC is considering whether the practice discriminates by having a “disparate impact” on certain groups. At an EEOC hearing in February, witnesses argued that excluding the unemployed could have an outsized effect on groups including blacks, Hispanics, women, older workers and the disabled.”

Disparate hiring does not have to be shown to be intentionally discriminatory. In December, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Kaplan Higher Education, charging that its use of credit checks discriminated against black applicants. This might be of interest to background checking vendors.

I am curious to hear from any recruiters out there, have you been asked to screen out unemployed candidates? Maybe a conversation with your clients could save a lawsuit?

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