No job? Too bad. Don’t even apply
August 26, 2011
“Unemployed need not apply.”
It’s a phrase that has ignited an online firefight involving some of the nation’s biggest Internet job sites and aroused deeply-held philosophical divides, but a San Luis Obispo County web executive believes such a policy would be “clearly discriminatory.”
Eric Swanson, president of Workin.com, the company that operates SLOJobs.com, said he hasn’t yet encountered the phrase — which discourages unemployed applicants from applying for certain positions — in advertisements placed on any of his sites.
Use of the phrase appears to have started among East Coast employers and is gaining traction elsewhere, making some advocacy groups edgy. Job giants Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com have refused to ban use of the phrase in employment ads and are enlisting the courts to try backing those decisions.
“We do not accept ads from employers that discriminate in any way,” Swanson told CalCoastNews.com. “But I will look into this further. We moderate all of our ads. If we find one that is questionable we try to work with the employer on it, tell them what they can and cannot do. We get a lot of feedback from our job-seekers, and I haven’t heard this one.”
One advocacy group, USAction, has been aggressively attempting to curb the practice, and now faces a “cease and desist” attempt by Monster.com lawyers for their trouble.
“There’s something fundamentally unfair and perverse about telling unemployed people they can’t apply for a job simply because they don’t have one already,” USAction spokesman David Elliot wrote in a recent newsletter. “New Jersey has already outlawed this type of discrimination against the jobless, and a bill has been introduced in Congress to follow suit.
But whether or not it’s still technically legal, it’s still just plain wrong. And the major job listing sites shouldn’t be a party to it.”
Monster.com has been referring reporters to the company blog, where this comment has been posted: “While we oppose discrimination against the unemployed on numerous grounds, we believe it is the responsibility of employers themselves, rather than Monster, to decide what they say in their job postings and how they want their company to be viewed. We believe that any companies intentionally excluding this segment of the population from consideration are missing out on great talent and putting their reputations at risk.”