Giving jobless a fair chance

Bill targets hiring bias against unemployed

The Columbus Dispatch

An unemployed writer looking for a data-processing job, Frank Atkinson knows it would be a lot easier to land a position if he were still working.

Many employers don’t consider applicants who don’t already have a job.

Sometimes the job listings are blatant with “unemployed candidates will not be considered” or “ must be currently employed.”

Other times, Atkinson believes, employers see the four-year hole in his resume and toss it.

It’s illegal to refuse to hire someone based on their age, religion or race. But no law prevents companies from dismissing job applicants because they are unemployed. That could change under recently introduced legislation being pushed by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

At a news conference yesterday in Columbus, Brown, who is among several Democrats sponsoring the bill, said he’s not trying to tell employers who to hire but he wants to make sure jobless workers get a chance to interview.

After that, it’s up to the applicant to sell the employer on his qualifications and experience, Brown said.

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Giving jobless a fair chance »