Jobless Need Not Apply?

Jobless Need Not Apply?

Rep. Hank Johnson introduced the Fair Employment Act of 2011 that would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against the unemployed.

Published March 21, 2011

A job seeker fills out paperwork at a job fair in Southgate, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) gets the side eye sometimes when he says things like Guam could “tip over and capsize” due to overpopulation, as he did last spring. But he’s taken on a very serious issue and hopefully his colleagues will listen.

Before leaving for this week’s recess, Johnson introduced the Fair Employment Act of 2011 (H.R. 1113) that would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against the unemployed. According to Johnson, there have been widespread reports of employment ads stating that applicants “must be currently employed” or “no layoff candidates considered.” An U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the issue last month during which some witnesses testified that such ads are an emerging trend.

That’s a horrifying thought for African-American communities, where the unemployment rate is 15.3%. So far, the bill has only 15 co-sponsors and it won’t get very far if voters don’t call their lawmakers to urge them to sign on.

Written by Joyce Jones

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