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Disturbing Job Ads: 'The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered'

First Posted: 06/04/10 12:52 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:40 PM ET

Jobless Claims

Still waiting for a response to the 300 resumés you sent out last month? Bad news: Some companies are ignoring all unemployed applicants.

In a current job posting on The People Place, a job recruiting website for the telecommunications, aerospace/defense and engineering industries, an anonymous electronics company in Angleton, Texas, advertises for a "Quality Engineer." Qualifications for the job are the usual: computer skills, oral and written communication skills, light to moderate lifting. But red print at the bottom of the ad says, "Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason."

In a nearly identical job posting for the same position on the Benchmark Electronics website, the red print is missing. But a human resources representative for the company confirmed to HuffPost that the The People Place ad accurately reflects the company's recruitment policies.

"It's our preference that they currently be employed," he said. "We typically go after people that are happy where they are and then tell them about the opportunities here. We do get a lot of applications blindly from people who are currently unemployed -- with the economy being what it is, we've had a lot of people contact us that don't have the skill sets we want, so we try to minimize the amount of time we spent on that and try to rifle-shoot the folks we're interested in."

There are about 5.5 people looking for work for every job available, according to the latest data from the Labor Department.

Sony Ericsson, a global phone manufacturer that recently announced that it would be bringing 180 new jobs to the Buckhead, Ga. area, also recently posted an ad for a marketing position on The People Place. The add specified: "NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL." When asked about the ad, a spokeswoman said, "This was a mistake, and once it was noticed it was removed."

Ads asking the unemployed not to apply are easy to find. A Craigslist ad for assistant restaurant managers in Edgewater, N.J. specifies, "Must be currently employed." Another job posting for a tax manager at an unnamed "top 25 CPA firm" in New York City contains the same line in all caps.

A company's choice to ignore unemployed applicants and recycle the current workforce ignores the effect of the recession on millions of highly-qualified workers and could prolong the unemployment crisis, said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project.

"In the current economy, where millions of people have lost their jobs through absolutely no fault of their own, I find it beyond unconscionable that any employer would not consider unemployed workers for current job openings," she said. "Not only are these employers short-sighted in their search for the best qualified workers, but they are clearly not good corporate citizens of the communities in which they work. Increasingly, politicians and policy makers are trying to blame the unemployed for their condition, and to see this shameful propaganda trickle down to hiring decisions is truly sad and despicable."

There is no law prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed, though advocates said the practice could be illegal if it had a "disparate impact" on minority groups.

Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), whose home state of Michigan has a 14 percent unemployment rate, was particularly disappointed to hear about the ads.

"While I appreciate that many employers are facing unprecedented competition for job openings, to close the door on such a large population of potential employees is shortsighted," he said. "Being unemployed is not a choice many workers choose to make. I would hope that companies that are discriminating against the unemployed will take into consideration that this choice is only further contributing to long-term unemployment in our country."

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