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Employment Status Discrimination Bill Moving Through Congress

Discrimination based on employment status is the subject of a new bill that has been proposed in Congress. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current national unemployment rate is 9.5 %. While New York employees have fared better, the unemployment rate in this state is still a staggering 8.3%. In response to these statistics as well as the growing trend of employers discriminating against applicants based on whether they are employed at the time of filing a job application, the Fair Employment Act of 2011 seeks to provide a cause of action for this growing problem.

Titles VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on an applicant's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Fair Employment Act of 2011 would amend the Civil Rights Act to include employment status as one of the protected classes under the Act. "Unemployment Status" in the proposed legislation is defined as "being unemployed, having actively looked for employment during the then most recent 4-week period, and currently being available for employment."

Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), one of the bill's sponsors, told the Huffington Post that the law would "put employers on notice that it's not in their best interest to run ads saying 'no unemployed people need apply,' or other things such as that would show that they are prejudiced against the unemployed."

The complete article is available here.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

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