New Jersey is considering passing a new law to make it illegal for companies to state in job advertisements that they will not hire job candidates who are currently unemployed. This proposed new law is likely inspired by a recent article in the Huffington Post, which indicates that many companies are refusing to hire job candidates who are unemployed. According to the article, companies are actually stating in job advertisements that they will only hire candidates who currently have jobs, or that unemployed individuals do not need to apply.
Presumably recognizing this is bad for the economy because it makes it even more difficult for unemployed individuals to find jobs (and stop collecting unemployment insurance benefits), New Jersey is considering an amendment to its labor law that would make it illegal for any job advertisements to state or suggest that (1) being currently employed is a job qualification, (2) the company will not consider job applicants who are currently unemployed, or (3) the employer will only consider job applications who are currently employed.
The proposed law would subject employers who violate to a penalty of up to $5,000 for a first violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. However, it would not make it illegal for employers to consider the fact that a job candidate is unemployed as a factor in hiring decisions. It also would not make it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire unemployed job candidates.
At this point, the bill is not yet a law. It was approved by the Assembly on October 25, 2010, but still needs to be approved by the State Senate, and then signed into law by Governor Christie. In the meantime, New Jersey law already prohibits employment discrimination based on numerous other categories, including race, gender, age, religion, and disability.
If you have been the victim of employment discrimination in New York or New Jersey, contact a discrimination lawyer who can help you enforce your legal rights.