This has nothing to do with “protecting” the unemployed and everything to do with giving the trial lawyers lobby a big wet kiss.
(The Hill) — President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which he presented to Congress on Monday, would make it illegal for employers to run advertisements saying that they will not consider unemployed workers, or to refuse to consider or hire people because they are unemployed.
The proposed language is found in a section of the bill titled “Prohibition of Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of an Individual’s Status as Unemployed.” That section would also make it illegal for employers to request that employment agencies take into account a person’s unemployed status.
It would also allow aggrieved job-seekers to seek damages if they have been discriminated against. This provision in particular prompted Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) to argue that Obama’s proposal is aimed at creating a new, special class of people who can sue companies.
“So if you’re unemployed, and you go to apply for a job and you’re not hired for that job, see a lawyer,” Gohmert said on the House floor. “You might be able to file a claim because you got discriminated against because you’re unemployed.”
He said this provision would only discourage companies from interviewing unemployed candidates, and would “help trial lawyers who are not having enough work,” since there are about 14 million unemployed Americans.
Under the bill, companies saying they will not consider unemployed candidates could face a court order enjoining them from this practice, a fine of up to $1,000 per day or “reasonable attorney’s fees.” Other violations could lead to damages as high as $5,000.