Unemployment Discrimination

HR Policy Association opposes the Fair Employment Opportunity Act, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of unemployment status.  The legislation would put the “status of unemployed” on a par with other protected classes under Title VII, such as race and gender and does not differentiate between unemployed individuals based on the reasons for their unemployment.  Other than a few anecdotes, there is no evidence of a widespread practice of refusing to hire individuals simply because of their unemployed status.  Even to the extent it exists in any degree, such discrimination did not create the difficult economic circumstances facing this nation.  Moreover, subjecting employers to awards of compensatory and punitive damages up to $300,000, increased litigation costs, and administration costs would serve as a counterweight to any legislative initiative seeking to create jobs.  Effectively, any decision by an employer not to hire an unemployed applicant would create the potential for litigation.