Friday, April 20, 2012

California Likely to Become First State to Make Unemployed a Protected Class

Once a bill has been approved, the Golden State is likely to be the first state in the country to make unemployed a protected class.   

The move is an attempt to reduce the growing problem of the state regarding employment discrimination.

A recent bill filed in Sacramento was recently given the go signal by the Assembly Judiciary Committee (AJC). The proposed legislation aims to turn an applicants’ employment status into a protected class when it comes to discrimination during job interviews.
On Tuesday, a 7-3 decision by the AJC in favor of Assembly bill 1450 officially cleared and gave it the green signal for proper action by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. However, a hearing date is still pending.

The bill, which was drafted by Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-San Rafael, would illegalize listing of current employment as a requirement in job advertisements. The bill likewise will treat employers’ hiring decisions based on the applicant’s status of employment as unlawful.

Allen also revealed that ads from several websites, such as Craiglist and, requiring current employment in order to qualify for the job had led him to propose the bill.

Meanwhile, as expected, several group of employers voiced their objections to the bill. They claim that asking the applicant’s job history is a very significant part of a job interview process. Therefore, once the bill has been approved into law, employers would be vulnerable to employment discrimination penalties.

Oregon and New Jersey in fact passed the same legislation prohibiting employment status in job advertisements. However, California would become the first state to make the unemployed a protected class when it finally signs the bill into law.

Once this legislation passed, it would definitely affect how job interviews are conducted. On the other hand, the bill would provide the unemployed with greater employment opportunities.

Employment discrimination may actually arise from the time an employee steps on the company’s premises for a job interview. Exposing employers to discrimination penalties would eventually mean draining resources for them in the future. Therefore, it is no longer surprising why they aren’t in favor of the bill.