Unemployment Discrimination? Let’s Make Another Law !!!

by Darwin on October 16, 2010

In typical fashion, the Huffington Post was all over a proposed law in New Jersey that would fine employers $10,000 for posting an ad that explicitly excludes unemployed applicants.  Some assemblyman without much sense (Barnes-Dem) actually wanted to go as far as making the unemployed a protected group under state civil rights laws like women, minorities, and the handicapped.  I’m sure nobody thinks there would be unintended consequences with that one…See, this left-wing screed thinks the answer to everything is government intervention. laws. regulation. anything – regardless of how stupid the motives, the practical application, the enforcement, or the actual outcome.  They just love this stuff.  And I think it’s stupid.

Look, if you’re unemployed or know someone who is, before you jump all over me for being insensitive, read the next 2 paragraphs.  I think being unemployed sucks – this is a terrible economy to be unemployed in.  If you don’t regain employment quickly, it becomes more and more difficult since there aren’t new jobs being created and the old skills you had are becoming obsolete quickly.

I also don’t see the logic in making sweeping assumptions that because someone is unemployed, they wouldn’t make a good candidate.  I think companies that have this firewall up and using poor judgment.  OK, let’s see, they’d rather:

  • pay a premium to peel someone away from their current employer
  • have to wait for them to give their notice
  • allow them to have leverage during salary negotiations since they already have a market-rate salary
  • undergo the risk that they may accept and then withdraw when their employer makes a counteroffer
  • pay for a relo as well?

This doesn’t make good business sense to me.  Frankly, if you’re hiring an unemployed prospect, as a business, you have much more leverage over starting salary, they’ll likely start immediately and they may very well be a very loyal employee given the torture you’ve rescued them from.  But if this is the choice an employer wants to make, that’s their call.

I get it, if I were unemployed, I’d want the government and businesses doing everything that made sense to get the economy rolling again so I could get another job quickly.  What I wouldn’t want though is a bunch of misdirected, nonsensical legislation that does nothing to affect the actual employment picture.  The proposed law is completely useless, illogical and purely political.  Here’s why.

Why This Law is Plain Stupid

  • If They Don’t Want to Hire Unemployed, They Won’t -The most basic reason this proposed law is plain stupid is that if an employer is set in their belief that they don’t want to hire someone who’s unemployed, they’re NOT GOING TO HIRE AN UNEMPLOYED APPLICANT ANYWAY.  While their posting may not say it, the hiring manager, HR and everyone else in the hiring chain knows it.  Therefore…
  • $10,000 Fine Basically for “Being Mean” – The only actual outcome of such a law would be to prevent companies from saying what they actually mean…and hurting feelings.  Seriously, being unemployed sucks.  But…
  • Stop Wasting My Time – Wouldn’t you want to know that if you have no chance with these 30 ads, go apply for these other 40 and focus your efforts there.  Now what you’re going to have is millions of additional resumes being thrown in the trash because an ill-conceived law is forcing employers to withhold their true intentions.  This will waste the time of the unemployed seeking jobs, the screeners at the companies and everyone else.
  • This Law Does Nothing to Address Hiring, Just What Goes in an Ad! – Think about it.  It’s useless.  This clearly appears to be more about bolstering his own resume on “what he did to help the unemployed” as opposed to actually helping anyone.  In the meantime, there will be a nice new law on the books, probably plenty of pencil-pushers spending their time monitoring and enforcing it, all while unemployment remains unaffected.

Would You Support This Law?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai October 16, 2010 at 10:11 pm

They should raise the fine to $100,000! They should give preference to the unemployed and enact a law that forces employers to hire if they breach certain return metrics.


Darwin October 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm

That is insane. How can a government force private industry to employ someone they don’t want to? I get sexism and racism. But what is this? Unemploymentism? Let’s see, how do you count someone who’s working part-time? How do you count someone was unemployed but now they have a menial job to make ends meet? That person gets passed over by someone else who’s collecting a check? I see, if we hire millions of government employees to oversee this new program, that will boost employment right? But wait! Who pays for their salaries? Ah, just our kids, add it to the tab for our deficit.

The bottom line is that government cannot fix this with laws. It will not work. It never has and it never will.

The economy needs to improve, which would actually benefit from less tinkering, a less hostile environment toward business and the government getting out of the way. It’s been 2 years and it’s time to try less government. More government is not working. And it won’t work. Ever.


TripleSigma October 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Great post!

I Think Samurai is being sarcastic by-the-way…


Darwin October 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Knowing Sam…I suspect he’s 100% serious.


Kevin @ Thousandaire.com October 18, 2010 at 6:40 pm

If I owned a business, I wouldn’t hire any employees: I’d just hire contractors and save tons of money.

However, if I were looking to hire people, I would probably not hire someone on unemployment if he had been out of a job for more than, say, three months. If he couldn’t find work in three months, either he wasn’t trying very hard or there is a good reason other people he’s interviewed with didn’t hire him.

It’s not that an unemployed person can’t be good, but I’d think the chances are low and I don’t want to waste my time interviewing that person.


Darwin October 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I could see how I’d feel that way about non-skilled labor in an area with ample job opportunities – would make you wonder. However, in say, 2009, when Wall Street firms laid off entire departments, the good were thrown out with the bad, so there were definitely some good candidates out there. Same might go for some of these mass-layoffs where senior (high paid) employees from the acquired company are getting laid off.

But overall, I don’t want the government imposing its will on private industry hiring. At what point are they just taking over? It’s theft. Regulation is one thing. Running private business right out from under the shareholders and management? Well, that’s Venezuela.


franchise opportunities September 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

as if employment law isn’t confusing enough!!! Didn’t realise people were try to do this, thanks for the update


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