Are Unemployed Discrimination Victims?

BOSTON (CBS) – Do employers hold it against you if you are unemployed?

It appears they do.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports.

  • Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA

    Very interesting and pertinent to today’s employment environment. I caution my students not to simply quit a job without having another firmly in hand. You are viewed with a different set of eyes if you are (horror of horrors) “unemployed.” Subtle but real.

  • Cynic

    I have wondered about this. I am guilty of it myself, The feeling that ” Why are they unemployed? What is wrong with them? As though it were thier fault. Part of it may be a feeling That… If I get too close to them,It will happen to me”….It’s totally ilogical but it’s there.

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  • response

    This issue was to suppose to be resolved when the president signed the Hire Act in 2010:

    Under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, enacted March 18, 2010, two new tax benefits are available to employers who hire certain previously unemployed workers (“qualified employees”).

    The first, referred to as the payroll tax exemption, provides employers with an exemption from the employer’s 6.2 percent share of social security tax on wages paid to qualifying employees, effective for wages paid from March 19, 2010 through December 31, 2010.

    In addition, for each qualified employee retained for at least 52 consecutive weeks, businesses will also be eligible for a general business tax credit, referred to as the new hire retention credit, of 6.2 percent of wages paid to the qualified employee over the 52 week period, up to a maximum credit of $1,000.

    I would love to see the numbers from the government to see how many employers actually took advantage of the credit? Each employer had to report the numbers on their 941 returns and reported on the Employes W2 statements.

    I know, you all must be shocked this didn’t work out….anyone need to wonder why the seniors didn’t get a cola increase on SS?
    The only way to get these people back to work, is to buy products made in America. Not easy to do, but we need to do it. It’s the only way to save the country.

  • L.P.

    Some companies ABSOLUTELY hold it against you. At a previous job back in the 80’s I saw an internal high-level memo from the president / ceo / founder about their hiring guidelines. It stated flat out that they company should not consider unemployed candidates because they are “obviously not as valuable as those who are actively employed.” Does that make any sense? Intelligent, talented people lose their jobs every day because of economic conditions, mergers, takeovers, and sometimes because of the poor decisions made by people like this guy. To blame the victims in these cases is outrageous. It’s a different story if someone gets fired for poor perfomance, but in the case of “workforce reductions” that is just crazy, but it does happen.

  • exitseven

    I take a harder look at unemployed candidates simply because I want to make sure they really want the job and will not just take the job to collect a paycheck until something better comes along.

    • Julie the Jarhead

      And what’s to wrong with taking a job simply “to collect a paycheck until something better comes along”? A gal’s got to pay the rent … and the gas and the health care and the car insurance and …

      BTW, my username on is “juliethejarhead.”

  • Laurie

    It’s one thing to take a closer look at an unemployed individual but it should be illegal to simply discriminate. For example my dad lost his job because the entire plant shutdown and everyone their lost their jobs. My father-in-law lost his job after laying off many other people first. In these cases it was not related to the individual but primarily due to a decline in their industries.

    Instead of judging the book by its cover employers should at least read resumes and cover letters to evaluate each individual candidate.

  • roadbowler

    With a huge pool of prospective employees to choose from, why would an employer run the risk of hiring the person who did NOT make him/herself indispensible by their previous employer???

    That’s not discrimination. That’s called being responsible.

    People tend to forget that these companies are not there to provide jobs to those who are unqualified. They are there to succeed and thrive. They can’t do that if laws prevent them from hiring the best person for the job.

  • Denise

    where do you draw the line – I’ve been on both sides of the coin. But the old saying it’s easier to find a job when you have one has always stuck w/ me. The benefit to the employer to hire someone that is unemployed is they might be a bit more confident that the person is going to stick around for awhile – they have all kinds of bills to catch up on and they know that jobs aren’t easy to come by if it’s a good one. Someone that they hire that already has a job – obviously isn’t happy at their current job and is spending work hours looking for a new one. Hmmmm who’s the better candidate!

  • Jason

    Most Employers do not provide the salary range for a position posted while they do request the applicants to provide salary history and desired salary. The applicants will be dropped with current and desired salary outside of the salary range the employer is willing to pay for the position. for unemployed people, their current salary will be the unemployment benefit or $0 if thy are 99ers. This practice puts the applicants, especially the unemployed to absolute passive position.

  • CEO

    It’s no wonder that employees are less loyal to their employers than ever. Forget the interests of your employer, look out for your own best interests because to them, you’re just a number. “What have you done for me today?”

    If you have a job, keep looking for a better one and don’t look back. Just hope that the managers that won’t hire the unemployed find themselves unemployed so the favor can be returned.

    • DumpedbyCo

      Very good point! If you work hard and develop a system to make the process significantly efficient and can be handled by lower level workers, or if you have a system established and people trained so well that the system can perform without you for a while… the consequence is you will be laid off, especially if there is a wicked boss who’s anxious about his/her own job security. People learned not to dig their own graves on their job. I’ve seen people withholding information, make the process more redundant, or make their experience and ob function seemed more important than it actually is, all for the sake of job security. People who selflessly contribute for the companies long term growth and truly supported colleagues will end up loosing everything including their jobs. No company will treat it’s employees like family members. Everybody within the company is your competitor, though you may have to partner/ team work with them for most of the time. Even your boss, he/she may make you write done all the processes, ideas, plans as assignment then use it as his/her own. He/she will not have any mercy when it comes to layoff. You already left enough ideas and establishments to that boss for him/her to survive without you.

  • Jobseeker

    while some of the employers afraid that the unemployed would grab and job offered to them and wait for opportunities to hop to the idea job. In fact, some of the long term unemployed been out of job for so long may have been seeking a better fit instead of settle with any job which they know they would not stay if other opportunity arises. Unfortunately, when the dream job comes, the employer would discriminate the long term unemployed and pass them. I hope employers realize that many of the long term unemployed will appreciate the job more than anybody else and work harder than people who has not experienced the horror of unemployment.

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