Wall Street Journal (02/24/12) Shelly Banjo
Legislation that would make it illegal for companies to discriminate against the unemployed are being considered in more than 12 states, as the percentage of the long-term unemployed has exceeded 40% since December 2009, the highest rate since 1948. Connecticut is considering a bill that would make the unemployed a protected class. Measures proposed in California and Florida would fine companies $1,000 and as much as $10,000, respectively, per violation for discriminating against the unemployed in job postings or hiring decisions. Brookings Institution senior fellow Gary Burtless says companies are wary of hiring people who have been out of work for long periods due to concerns about their skills eroding over time or reasons other managers have not hired them.