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, the company that operates, 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 and 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 “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 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.” 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.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I think it is just “sarcasm (a satire)” referring to the few who have been unemployed an extended time on EDD who will not take any job because they feel it is beneath their worth or expection (both young and old).

I would never rule out hiring someone without a job, nor suggest that an unemployed person should not apply for a job I was offering, but the fact is that when downsizing occurs, it is the dead weight that is first to go. Generally speaking, I have had better luck with people who are already employed and looking to move up.

As an employer, I emphatically state herein: I would be happy to hire a person who comes to me without recent employment. I agree that a person who does not have a job is no less worthy of obtaining one within their job skill and qualification levels. If I am hiring (and I am not at this moment) , everyone who qualifies is welcomed to apply. To refuse consideration of unemployed applicants is, IMO, discriminatory and down right W.R.O.N.G.. It symbolizes part of what is wrong with our country today.

Wow. Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down …

“Unemployed need not apply.” I got one better than that, how about “Bilingual only need apply or Bilingual required.” Can’t touch pretty much any of the non-profit jobs at all unless you speak spanish. Here is an example off of craigslist in the nonprofits section, This is a full time position that is available immediately through June 2011 with a good likelihood of extending past that date. Bilingual English/Spanish is Required. Another add required this, Minimum Education: Bachelor or Masters , Languages: bilingual fluent Spanish speaker.

I couldn’t disagree more with you on this one, but I understand your frustration. Bilingualism is a skill, just like “Microsoft Excel Experience”. It is remarkably valuable to many employers in the United States. However, being employed or unemployed when applying has absolutely nothing to do with being able to perform a job, while having a skill, in this case being bilingual is something that would enable you to perform it.

…so you dislike my reply or you dislike that this is considered a valuable skill?

Another way that illegal immigration costs jobs and money.

Learning to speak Spanish takes little ” skill “, it takes aptitude. I had 5 consecutive years of Spanish classes. I can read it well, write it even better, but I cannot speak it fluently enough to be of service. Conjugation got the better of me. Rolling those “rrrrrr’s” turned out even worse. As an employer in the United States and one who deals with a large Hispanic clientele, I find it far more “valuable” to have my employees show patience and kind regard to those who come into my office speaking little English. My inability to speak their language has had no impact on my business. I feel the requirement of being able to speak Spanish is discriminatory.

Seems to me that stating ‘bilingual is required’ lets you know that they need someone who is bilingual.

Stating that “unemployed need not apply” doesn’t even try to see if you have the required skills. It looks like a clear case of discrimination to me.

Well, there is an old saying that it’s easier to find a job, if you have a job.

Recently, a local job went out for a ‘policeman’… and hundreds of qualified applicants poured in, many OVER qualified. Companies and public entities wanting to interview only those who have a job may not be the best way to find the right employee… but maybe they don’t want to hear your stomach growling and see the desperation in your eyes.

Wait, I’m confused. Why would they not want unemployed applicants? Aren’t they the ones looking for a job? I have a job and I dont search the web for job listings ! Hello! Can any one explain?

I think this is beyond shameful and extremely discriminatory. I’m thinking they are afraid of desperate individuals over-selling themselves or unable to pay for transportation.

My personal feeling is that I would want to hire a person who is grateful for their employment and would be loyal and over shine on the job site.

There is a mean streak in America right now – a mile wide – and it is not serving any of us, in the least.

This is some what true. Illegals came here for the work (originally in the fields and employers hired them because they worked for far less than a living wage in this county.

That being said, California has been isolated for the rest of the country in terms of over all unemployment. We have work in certain sectors(like the wine grape industry or the construction industry) yet have a huge separation when it comes to “head of household ” jobs.

Overall the cost of living in this county is much higher than surrounding counties and the salaries paid for head of house hold employees is far lower than surrounding counties.

The County, The prisons, the state hospital and calpoly provide the only competitive salaries in comparison to surrounding counties…