Two proposed bills (one in the House H.R 2501 and another in the Senate S. 1471) entitled the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 would ban prospective employers and employment agencies from discriminating against a job applicant because he is currently unemployed. It provides for enforcement by a private civil actions or and action by the Department of Labor against the alleged offender. Among other things, it would prohibit inquiring about current employment status in an advertisement or job interview. To be completely fair, this bill should be re-titled as the “Lawyers’ Full Employment and Chinese Economic Stimulus Act of 2011” because those would the primary beneficiaries of this idiotic legislation. Employment laws and regulatory rules already make being an employer so onerous that it is more efficient and profitable to send whatever functions you can offshore rather than employ Americans and subject oneself to ridiculous constraints already imposed by all levels of government.
This bill thankfully has no chance of becoming law in the current Congress. One can easily surmise that it was included as a sop to the President’s extreme left supporters.
One question to immediately comes to mind is why would an employer discriminate against an applicant because they are currently unemployed? Is such discrimination legitimate? The answer to the first question generally answers the second. It often depends upon the job sought. If a person is otherwise qualified on paper for a job in an industry where there is low or virtually no unemployment, that fact they are currently not working, might indicate, or at least give a prospective employer a line of inquiry. Why is he not currently working? Perhaps because he just finished school, or his employer went out of business for one reason or another. On the other hand, maybe he was fired for incompetence or inability to get along with other employees. These are things an employer would want to know, and should be able to ascertain. Also, the fact that a job-seeker is currently working, but currently underemployed, could indicate that the applicant is ambitious and will do what he can for himself while seeking a better job. In short, whether a applicant is currently employed is an indicator, and a reliable one in many cases, as to whether this person would be a desirable employee.
As an employer for most of the past 35 years, I can attest that a good employee is hard to find. Consequently, when I found one, I did done everything possible can to keep him, often at my short term detriment, at least financially. Never having had more than 15 employees, I have not been subject to a lot of the more onerous laws and regulations. That was a conscious consideration. There were enough headaches without having to deal with the laws one becomes subject to when having over 15 employees.
If we want full employment in this nation, we better take John Galt’s advice (given 54 years ago) and tell the government to get the hell out of the way. (Atlas Shrugged, p.1045, 35th Anniversary Edition)
(Note: To avoid the awkwardness invariably resulting from attempts to be politically correct, I used the masculine pronoun to apply to both sexes. It is a longstanding convention in composition and I mean no bias one way or the other by it.)