Help Expose Discrimination Against Unemployed Workers in Hiring

If you've been told you would not be considered for a job simply because you are unemployed -- tell us your story. has helped to uncover a disturbing practice in today's already-tough job market:  some employers, staffing firms and recruiters are explicitly excluding job applicants based on their being unemployed -- or based on a certain duration of unemployment.

To the extent that this particular kind of discriminatory exclusion is practiced by employers or their agents, it makes finding new work for millions of jobless Americans that much more difficult.

We've been shining a light on this discriminatory exclusion.  A number of unemployed workers contacted us, describing how they had been informed directly -- in writing, in person, or by phone -- that they could not be considered for a specific job opening simply because they were not currently employed, or because they had been unemployed for a specified period.  Their stories helped provide real-life examples for testimony by our colleague Christine Owens, National Employment Law Project executive director, at an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing earlier this year.

Now, federal legislation sponsored by Representatives Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Hank Johnson of Georgia would ban the discriminatory exclusion of unemployed workers from consideration for jobs. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives July 12, is designed to prohibit the perverse catch-22 that requires workers to have a job before they can get a job. The legislation has also been introduced in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. President Obama has also proposed the legislation as part of the American Jobs Act.

These discriminatory practices hurt unemployed workers, are bad for the economy, and bad for employers as well.  This kind of pernicious discrimination is wrong, and we're working to end it.  But we need your help.

If you have been told directly and specifically -- in writing, in person or by phone -- that you could not be considered for employment explicitly because you are unemployed or you are "not currently employed," we want to know the details of that experience.

Please include:

* Your name, your hometown and state

* What type of work you had been doing before you were laid off, and how many years you had worked previously

* What you were told exactly, and how the information was communicated to you.  The name of the firm or employer that communicated the specific exclusion, and when the communication occurred.  Actual quotes are best (for example:  "Our client has told us they don't want to see candidates who aren't currently employed" or "For this position we cannot recommend candidates who have been out of work for more than three months")

If the information was communicated by way of a posted online job ad -- such as one specifying "must be currently employed" -- please send along a link in your story submission.

* If you are open to being contacted about your experience by a media representative, please let us know that too and include your phone number so we can follow up with you for further information.  Continued media attention to this story is important to proving its existence and the need for measures to end this practice.

We know there are also other types of discriminatory practices, including more subtle forms of age, gender or race discrimination as well as limitations on opportunities for people who have held only temporary jobs in recent years.  These are all important, but please refrain from sending stories of suspected behaviors along those lines in this webform -- we really are trying to identify strong examples of discrimination based on unemployment status.

We only want your specific example if you have been explicitly told -- in writing, in person or by phone -- that you could not or would not be considered for employment due to your being unemployed.

Many thanks.