Discriminating Against … the Unemployed?

Congress is currently considering enacting President Obama's American Jobs Act. A portion of this Act would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against unemployed job applicants.

The Act would make it unlawful for an employer to take into consideration the fact of the applicant's unemployed status, or refuse to hire someone because he or she is unemployed.

The Act further would make it illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement stating that an applicant will not be considered or hired for a position if he or she is currently unemployed.

However, the Act would not preclude an employer from inquiring about or considering the applicant's employment history, or asking about the reasons why the applicant is unemployed, in order to assess his or her ability to perform a job.

If an employer is found liable for violation the Act, an aggrieved Plaintiff can recover liquidated damages of up to $1,000 for each day of the violation, plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs.