An Open Letter to Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune:
As corporate owners of CareerBuilder.com, it should be of concern to you that a company you oversee promotes hiring discrimination against unemployed Americans.
A recent study by the National Employment Law Project found that employers of all sizes, staffing agencies and online job posting firms such as CareerBuilder.com are using recruitment and hiring policies that expressly deny employment to the unemployed – simply because they are not working. The NELP study identified more than 150 ads that openly discriminate based on employment status. The overwhelming majority of the discriminatory ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.”
This practice is egregious and must end at once. The newspapers and other holdings that you own would never, one would hope, say “African Americans need not apply” or “Jews need not apply.”
It is unfair and outrageous that any company in this era of widespread unemployment would explicitly ban jobless workers from employment.
The practice of hiring discrimination against the unemployed is deepening the pain for millions of Americans who have suffered the brunt of the economic crisis. This discrimination actually causes additional harm to the economy because it squanders the skills and experience of unemployed workers. If these workers are not hired, it in turn reduces consumption (because unemployed workers spend less) and increases public cost (for example, through unemployment insurance).
Records show that the Gannett Company owns 50.9 percent of CareerBuilder.com; the Tribune Company 30.8 percent and the McClatchy Company 14.4 percent.
USAction, a federation of 22 state affiliates that is campaigning for good jobs for America and an economy that works for all of us, has mounted an online petition campaign demanding that companies no longer discriminate against unemployed workers. So far, more than 25,000 people have signed our petition.
USAction has delivered letters to corporate executives of CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com, asking the companies to reject advertising that discriminates. Although we understand that the discriminatory wording of these ads was written by the employers themselves, discrimination against the unemployed is no more justified than ads that employers historically placed excluding the hiring of people of color or women or people of certain religions. Just as employers should not discriminate, online job posting firms such as CareerBuilder.com should reject ads that discriminate.