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(Reposted from Working America's Main Street blog.)

Over 200,000 Working America members are unemployed, so we’re particularly enraged by the practice of discrimination against the unemployed. Employers still run postings that require job applicants to be currently employed, and sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder have refused to take them down.
That’s why we want to extend our appreciation to the jobs posting website Indeed.com, who last week banned job postings that discriminate against the unemployed:

Indeed’s Director of Communications, Sophie Beaurpere, issued the following statement:

“Indeed.com strives to provide the best job search experience for job seekers.  Our policy is to exclude job listings that do not comply with federal or local laws related to discriminatory hiring practices as well as job listings that discriminate against the unemployed.”


Soon, Indeed’s policy could be the law. The American Jobs Act, introduced by President Obama last week, contains language that that would ban the practice. Section 372 says the act shall “prohibit employers and employment agencies from disqualifying an individual from employment opportunities because of that individual’s status as unemployed.”

Doesn't seem too controversial, but since partisan Republicans like Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert are scrambling to find a reason to oppose Obama’s popular jobs proposals, they’ve decided to play politics with this issue:

[Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)] said this provision would only discourage companies from interviewing unemployed candidates, and would "help trial lawyers who are not having enough work," since there are about 14 million unemployed Americans.

“Trial lawyers” are a favorite punching bag for Republicans and anti-worker interests. Whenever any sort of consumer protection statute is proposed, you’ll always hear talk of lawyers and “frivolous lawsuits” to dismiss it as wasteful and ineffective. But those decades-old dog whistle political games are no solace to the thousands of unemployed Americans who are ready and willing to work – who don’t have the resources to sue anybody, and wouldn’t want to anyway – who have been rejected from jobs simply because they aren’t currently employed.

Stand alone legislation banning this type of discrimination, known as the Fair Employment Act of 2011 has already been introduced in the House and Senate.

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