The legislature’s Labor and Commerce committees have raised bills to address job postings that would disqualify individuals from applying for employment because they are currently unemployed.
While language for the Commerce Committee’s bill is not yet available, the Labor Committee’s bill (HB 5054) has Gov. Malloy’s support and was aired at a public hearing on February 18.
The bill prohibits employers, employment agencies, and temporary help services from publishing or posting announcements for job vacancies that indicate unemployed individuals are disqualified for the job, or that the employer will not consider any candidates who are unemployed. CBIA supports this aspect of the bill.
However, that kind of an ad—actually saying in print that unemployed people need not apply—is more urban legend than actual practice. After all, employers know that it is in their interest to hire the best candidates regardless of their current employment status.
However, HB 5054 reaches beyond prohibiting discriminatory ads.
Opens Wrong Door
The bill also allows someone who applies for any job but doesn’t win it to complain to the state Labor Department if the applicant believes that the sole reason they failed to win the job was that they were unemployed.
Requiring employers to participate in a Labor Department investigation as a result of a candidate’s subjective beliefs does not help Connecticut compete to attract more businesses to the state.
CBIA opposes this aspect of the bill. It will be very clear—in black and white--whether or not a printed advertisement adheres to the law’s requirements, if the bill is adopted. But opening the door to discrimination complaints based on job candidates’ subjective opinions could be muddy, harmful, and costly.
Failing to modify this bill may result in businesses that make sound, reasoned hiring decisions being penalized as a result of complaints by job candidates upset at failing to win a job.
Therefore, that part of the proposal should be stricken. CBIA urges the committees to modify their respective bills to take away any subjectivity in the complaint process to prevent businesses from the headaches of defending against frivolous complaints.