Obama “Jobs” Bill – Businesses Could Be Sued For Bias Against Unemployed

Under Latest Jobs Bill – Businesses Could Be Sued For Bias Against Unemployed

Not Hiring the Unemployed May Become Grounds for Discrimination Lawsuits

President Barack Obama’s latest “jobs” bill provides a provision that allows business owners to be sued for not hiring someone because they are unemployed. The bill makes it “an unlawful employment practice” if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person because of the individual’s status as unemployed. Job applicants who are not hired could sue for damages. Under the proposal the unemployed would be entitled to the same protections as if an employer discriminated against the applicant on the basis of a person’s sex, race, religion or national origin.

Lawsuits for employment discrimination increase during a sluggish economy. In the fiscal year 2010, job bias charges filed with the employment commission increased 20 percent from 2007 and reached a record of nearly 100,000.

New York Times Article

More Burdens and Risk for Business Owners – Our Opinion

The provisions in this bill provide a fresh set of landmines for small and medium sized business. Being an employer in the USA already requires business owner’s deal with significant regulatory risks and responsibilities. From tax collection to health insurance to unemployment, employers have major financial and administrative burdens.

Every out of work lawyer in the country must be salivating at the chance to sue any small business for not hiring someone because they are unemployed. As Texas Rep Louis Gohmert said” If you’re unemployed and you go to apply for a job, and you’re not hired for that job, see a lawyer. You may be able to file a claim because you got discriminated against because you were unemployed.”

Businesses may decide not to expand and hire rather than conduct interviews where they might have to turn down an unemployed person only to subsequently hear from their lawyers and spend the next two months filling out government paperwork explaining their hiring decision and hiring their own lawyers. Or course it just another way for plaintiffs and their lawyers to shake down business owners.

It truly is stunning to realize that our political leadership fails to understand the direct correlation between increased business risk and burdens and unemployment. The more burdens and risk business must carry to have employees, the less employees they will have. Period. To lower the national unemployment levels it is simple, reduce the burdens of being an employer.

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