Best Ohio Employment Discrimination Attorney Answer: Is it unlawful to post a job advertisement specifically stating that unemployed applicants will be not be accepted? Do any states prevent an employer from discriminating against an applicant because of his or her employment status? How do I find the top employment law lawyer in Ohio?
We have all heard the expression, “it is easier to find a job, when you already have a job.” But, is it legal for employers and companies to refuse to hire applicants simply because they do not have a current job?
As have been covered extensively on this blog, Ohio and Federal law only provide anti-discrimination protection for certain “protected classes,” such as Gender; Race; National Origin; Religion; Age; Disability; or Military Status. Other classes, such as sexual orientation, are not recognized in most states and federally but have been gaining traction. Another class of individuals that is gaining traction towards being recognized by anti-discrimination laws is the large number of Americans that are unemployed. Ohio and Federal laws do not consider an employer specifically excluding unemployed persons from applying or discriminating against applicants because of their unemployment status unlawful.
However, in 2011 New Jersey became the first state to officially outlaw employers from excluding the unemployed from job advertisements. That means that New Jersey employers are required to accept applications from those that are unemployed, however, until recently, they were free to discriminate against those applicants once they actually applied.
The New Jersey Legislator recently passed S-1440, which supplements the previous bill that makes specifically excluding unemployed persons from applying illegal. S-1440 prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant in any employment decision concerning hiring, compensation or other terms and conditions of employment because the applicant is currently unemployed.
The bill, however, does not prohibit an employer, when making an employment decision, from: (A) inquiring into an applicant’s employment history and the circumstances surrounding the applicant’s separation from prior employment; (B) considering any substantially job-related qualifications, (e.g., professional/occupational licenses, certificates, registrations, permits or other credentials; level of education or training; level of experience); (C) determining that only applicants who are currently employed by the employer will be considered for employment or given priority; or (D) setting compensation or other terms and conditions of employment based on the applicant’s actual amount of experience.
Even though S-1440 is a step in the right direction for providing rights to those that are unemployed, it is certainly not the perfect solution. The law does not provide applicant the ability to sue employers in court for a violation of the law. Applicants are required to file an administrative complaint against the employer and the employer only faces civil penalties that start at $1,000 for the first offense and up to $10,000 for third and subsequent offenses.
Since New Jersey passed its initial law in 2011, New York City, Oregon and Washington D.C. passed similar laws that protect the unemployed from discrimination in applying for work. Other jurisdictions are sure to follow, and the widespread potential for employment status to be considered a protected class is a distinct possibility.
If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have been wrongfully fired or terminated;” or “I have been discriminated against based on my …” race, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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