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By Phil Piemonte

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Unemployed need not apply

There’s disturbing news for unemployed jobseekers out there (federal or otherwise).

Apparently there is a trend among employers to consider for their job vacancies only people who are currently employed.

It’s enough of an issue that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a hearing on it yesterday.

One witness at the hearing, Helen Norton, an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, said that employers and staffing agencies are publicly advertising jobs—ranging from electronic engineers to restaurant and grocery managers to mortgage underwriters—with the restriction that only currently employed candidates will be considered.

Norton said some employers figure current employment is “signal of quality job performance.” She called that correlation “decidedly weak.”

Another witness said the practice could “act as a negative counterweight” to government efforts to get people back to work. And women and minorities may be disproportionately affected by the trend.

Of course, not everyone at the hearing was convinced the practice is widespread. For example, a witness representing the Society of Human Resource Professionals said his group was not aware of employers regularly using the practice. At the same time, he agreed that automatically excluding unemployed people from consideration was not a particularly effective way of practicing “due diligence” in screening applicants.

We’re wondering how many of our readers have run into the practice.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:13 PM


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