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California Assembly Moves To Stop Unemployment Discrimination

"Unemployed Need Not Apply"

"Current Employment Is A Requirement For Employment"

Signs like these or job postings that contain phrases like these that discourage those who aren't currently employed from applying for an advertised position will no longer be legal if Assembly Bill 1450 is passed. This type of employment discrimination - or unemployment discrimination - would no longer be allowed in California.

The proposed bill would hold both companies who include the discriminatory language in their job postings as well as the publisher of those postings responsible for violations. Penalties for violations would increase as the number of violations increased.

The only exceptions to the anti-unemployment discrimination bill are for bona fide occupational qualifications and any other existing law that requires a new hire to be currently employed.

The bill would not make it illegal for employers to ask applicants about their employment history or to conduct background checks. Employers may still ask applicants about their work history, their dates of employment and their reasons for leaving prior employers. The bill would simply make it illegal for employers to advertise that current employment is a prerequisite for being hired.

Senator Marc Leno (D-San Francisco) noted, in favor of the bill, "In these tough economic times, it would seem unfair to punish those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own."

Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa) introduced the anti-unemployment discrimination bill. The Assembly approved the bill last week. The bill, if signed into law, would take effect next January and would apply to both public and private sector employers.

Source: LA Times, "Bill would bar job posts from saying unemployed need not apply," August 30, 2012

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