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Bill Would Protect Unemployed Job-Hunters

Riverside Press-Enterprise (California) (03/19/12) Jack Katzanek

California Assembly Bill 1450 would make employment status a protected class—along with age, race, and disability—that cannot be considered during the hiring process. If the bill passes and is signed into law, it would prohibit companies from turning away applicants because they are unemployed. The bill also would crack down on employment firms and online job boards that require candidates to be “currently employed.” New Jersey and the District of Columbia have adopted similar laws, and measures are pending in about a dozen other states.

Some who work in the human resources field say the law is not necessary. Sarah Cullins, president of staffing firm Finesse Personnel Associates, says she has never accepted a listing from a company that ruled out anyone who is currently unemployed. She says some companies could skew things the other way. A company wanting to hire someone immediately could favor someone who is unemployed and doesn’t have to give two weeks notice.