Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Discriminated Against for Being Unemployed

Please allow me to rain on your parade if you are long-term or short-term unemployed in 2012...employers don't want to hire people who are unemployed.

There's a proposed bill, HB-1134 in Colorado, which would prohibit discrimination against unemployed applicants. But it also explicitly prohibits any ability for the job seeker to seek, and/or be awarded, any civil damages. The only deterrent is a $1,000 fine on an employer for a first offense, with higher penalties for any subsequent offenses.

But as far as I can tell, in my humble opinion, at the very most this law would only force employers to not advertise: "The Unemployed Need Not Apply" -- and maybe force employers to accept your job application.

It would be next to impossible to determine whether or not you weren't called back for an interview, or ultimately never hired, just because you have been unemployed. So therefore, imposing any fine, no matter how much, would be almost fruitless as well.

It's the same way with age discrimination. Employers have many ways to circumvent that civil rights law too, like using "bona fide qualifications" to disqualify job applicants that they might think are too old - - just like they do for cocktail waitresses in Las Vegas casinos. Also, see what they are now proposing with "term limits" on the ones that they do hire.

As for age? Employers will already have your date-of-birth, date you graduated from school, and previous work history. On a job application one has to also agree with their demands, such as working in a smoking environment or being able to lift 50 lbs.

And then there is the criminal background check, your driving record, your credit score, and you tax history that they ask for permission to access before hiring anyone.

And there are also the "third-party" psychological exams that they can use to screen people too -- and you never see the results or are given any reason why you didn't "pass" and were rejected.

And let's not forget the standard drug test that you'll need to pass; yet CEOs and members of Congress are exempt from taking these illegal tests.

And then there's the matter of your full medical history - - did you ever visit a mental health clinic for depression? OOPS! Now you might also have a notation on your job application that says "History of mental illness."

If you ever felt discriminated against for any reason at all (even in "reverse discrimination" cases regarding a company's diversity policies), organizations such as the Nation Labor Relations Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does very little to help you unless you have rock solid proof...like a tape recording (which is illegal in many states, unless both parties agree to be recorded).

And even after all this, and if you ever DO get hired, it's very easy for them to build a case against you for termination (even if you have a labor union representing you). And after you DO get fired, try finding a lawyer to represent you for "wrongful termination"...it's almost impossible.

And also expect the company that wrongly fired you to appeal all your efforts to get a single unemployment check. So all-in-all, your best bet would be to go to China and work for less that $1 an hour, because that's where the jobs are.

I'm not making any of this up, I speak from personal experience.

One Way to Prove Age Discrimination

If you know of someone that's much younger than you, and didn't appear obviously connected to you - - such as having the same last name, same street address, same high school, or previous place of employment - - here's what you might try.

Apply for a job that you legitimately qualify for and want. Then the very next day, have that person apply for the same exact job. They should be younger and more "attractive" than yourself, but not more educated, more skilled, or more experienced in the job you're both applying for.

Then do this with every job you apply for, and see who gets the most interviews and/or job offers. Tape all conversations (in person or over phone) if it's possible and legal in your state.

If the other person is unfairly favored over you, file a complaint. It might not win a protracted law suit, but it could get you a quick cash settlement or the job you want.


  1. I forgot to mention...

    Another option is to rob a bank to keep from becoming homeless.


  2. Folks, we can beat them at their own game, but we can't do it with only one or two of us doing it.

    The solution is to develop a system like linked-in or whatever where people submit a copy of the help wanted ad and their resume and the date that they applied.

    Then we force the HR departments to report whether they physically interviewed the person or not.

    In time we will build up a database that will rival craigs list and the true picture will emerge.

    But we have to get the word out to use it, and develop it and I personally do not have the funds, although I'm more than willing to build the team to develop this solution if somebody will invest the money in Keep America At Work.