Are unemployed workers discriminated against? It's hard to know definitively, but there are surveys that report that the longer you are out of work the harder it is to find a job and the long-term unemployed accounted for 43.8% of the unemployed last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Testifyng before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said that "Practices barring the unemployed from job availabilities have been growing around the country- and place a disproportionate burden on older workers, African Americans, and other workers facing high levels of long-term unemployment."
The NELP reports "---exclusion of unemployed workers from consideration for jobs began to emerge early last summer: A global phone manufacturer posted a job announcement for a marketing position that explicitly said 'No Unemployed Candidates Will Be Considered At All'; a Texas electronics company's online listing said it would 'not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason'; an ad for restaurant managers in New Jersey said applicants 'Must be currently employed'."
Testifying at the same hearing, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said it was unaware of widespread recruiting practices that discriminate against the unemployed. Testifying on behalf of SHRM -Fernán R. Cepero, PHR, vice president human resources of the YMCA of Greater Rochester, N.Y., said "Human-resource professionals recognize that a blanket exclusion of the unemployed among candidates being considered for job openings raises concerns under federal law that prohibits employment discrimination.
"What's more," he added, "exclusionary policies are poor business practices because they prevent organizations from accessing some of the best available knowledge, skills and abilities in a given labor force. In addition to looking at work experience, skill sets, professionalism, passion for the job, and other factors, SHRM encourages its members to make specific efforts to target and hire from diverse groups of candidates."
When you have been out of work for a significant length of time it's harder to be a competitive candidate - especially in a very competitive job market. Your resume has a big employment gap, which can be hard to explain. Your skills may be considered out-dated, even after only a year or so out of the workforce.
When you read the stories unemployed workers have shared with us, there seems to be a trend of older and long-term unemployed workers having a tough time.