Unemployed May Soon Be Protected From Discrimination

March, 2012

Last week the Oregon state legislature passed a bill prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed individuals who are seeking employment. If signed by Governor Kitzhaber, the law will prohibit employers from publishing in print or on the internet job advertisements with qualifications that applicants must be currently employed, that state applications from individuals who are not currently employed will not be considered, or that state only applications from individuals who are currently employed will be considered.

Employers are not prohibited from posting jobs internally with the requirement that only applications of current employees will be accepted. Job advertisements may also still require current licenses and certifications and other minimum qualifications. Simply stated, job advertisements may not exclude applicants for the sole reason of being unemployed.

Although the law does not create a private cause of action for applicants, employers found in violation of the law will be assessed $1,000 penalty by the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

If the bill passes, employers should carefully review all job ads and make sure that language excluding unemployed candidates is removed.


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