USAction Launches Online Campaign to End Hiring Discrimination Against Jobless Workers; First Targets are and

Jul 28, 2011, 14:42 ET from USAction

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WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- USAction today launched an online petition campaign aimed at companies that refuse to consider hiring unemployed workers, a perverse form of discrimination in today's economy.

The campaign comes after the National Employment Law Project released a report showing that employers of all sizes, staffing agencies and online job posting firms are using recruitment and hiring policies that expressly deny employment to the unemployed – simply because they are not working.

"Just as a company would not dare say 'African Americans need not apply' or 'Jews need not apply,' it is outrageous that any company in this day and age would explicitly ban unemployed workers from employment," said Alan Charney, USAction director of strategy and policy. "This policy discriminates against people who have lost jobs through no fault of their own, excludes many jobless workers who are highly qualified and motivated and, paradoxically and unacceptably, lengthens unemployment status."

The NELP study reviewed job postings that appeared on four of the nation's most prominent online job listing websites:,, and Craigslist. It identified more than 150 ads that openly discriminated based on employment status. The overwhelming majority of the discriminatory ads required that applicants "must be currently employed."

"Whatever reasons employers and agencies may have for excluding the unemployed, the practice is deepening the pain for millions of workers who have already shouldered the brunt of the downturn and is actually hurting the economy by squandering the skills and experience of millions, reducing consumption, and increasing public costs," said Christine L. Owens, NELP executive director.

USAction today delivered letters to corporate executives of and, asking the companies to reject advertising that discriminates. "Although we understand that the discriminatory wording of these ads was written by the employers themselves, discrimination against the unemployed is no more justified than ads that employers historically placed excluding the hiring of people of color or women or people of certain religions," the letter states. "You would presumably not accept ads that discriminate on race, gender, religious belief, etc. Why discriminate against the unemployed?"

USAction is backing legislation introduced by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, and Henry Johnson, D-GA, that would prohibit employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider job applicants solely because they are unemployed. The law would ban companies like and from posting ads that discriminate based on employment status.

USAction's campaign is part of a larger USAction effort to pass robust job creation legislation and build an economy and middle class that works for all of us.