Companies Refuse to Hire the Unemployed

An online job listing indicated that Sony Ericsson is not considering unemployed job candidates. After the company relocated to Atlanta in 2010 and needed a couple new employees, their recruiters told a group of unemployed applicants not to bother.

Sony Ericsson, one of the leading giants in the cellphone industry, later denied the allegations saying that the listing has been a mistake. However, there are still a lot of other companies that continue to deny job interviews to those who are unemployed. This is a harsh reality considering that long-term joblessness is in its highest level in years.

In the current United States constitution, it is illegal to hire or not to hire people based on their age, religion, race or disability, among many others. However, companies are free to turn down unemployed applicants and they are generally not breaking any law in doing that.

We have long known that it is much easier to get a job while you are still currently employed. There is no legal or hard data on the discrimination of the unemployed but many companies nationwide make it very clear that there are not interested in hiring people who are not currently employed.

An employment expert said that a lot of companies have policies of not hiring people who are unemployed but refuse to openly acknowledge their bias.

The National Employment Law Project executive director, Christine Owens, said during the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 2011 hearing that excluding people who are unemployed has become a regular business practice. Owens even shared a story of a 55-year old software engineer based in California who applied for a job a few months back. She said that the recruiter seemed very interested in her until she said she has been out of work for nearly half a year. The recruiter then said that they cannot forward her resume to the company.

The unemployed are traditionally having not been a protected class. However, in these times when long-term unemployment is an increasing challenge, the situations may change.

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