WASHINGTON -- With mounting pressure from worker advocates and an online petition, Indeed.com, the Internet's highest-trafficked job board website, has announced that it will no longer allow job ads that discriminate against the unemployed, a practice that even President Obama has criticized.
"Our policy is to exclude job listings that do not comply with federal or local laws related to discriminatory hiring practices as well as job listings that discriminate against the unemployed," Sophie Beaurpere, Indeed.com's director of communications, said in a statement.
Progressive advocacy group USAction used Change.org to gather more than 92,000 Internet signatures to petition the three major online job boards -- Indeed.com, Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com -- to get rid of job postings that stipulate applicants must be currently employed.
Only a week ago, President Obama said on a radio show those ads "make absolutely no sense," going so far as to say he supports federal legislation to ban discrimination against the jobless.
The long-term unemployed have found themselves in a bind as they now make up about half of the jobless population -- about 6 million people out of work for six months or longer.
The National Employment Law Project has been highlighting discrimination against the unemployed for some time, tracking and collecting ads from major companies.
The Huffington Post contacted companies who had posted the ads and received a range of defenses, including from third-party employment agencies who said it was an acceptable practice. Some even blamed Indeed for cycling old ads they no longer wanted live.
Monster has refused to stop running the ads. "While we oppose discrimination against the unemployed on numerous grounds, we believe it is the responsibility of employers themselves, rather than Monster, to decide what they say in their job postings and how they want their company to be viewed."
Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Henry Johnson Jr. (D-Ga.) have introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011. The bill would prohibit employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider job applicants solely because they are unemployed. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also introduced the same bill in the Senate earlier this year.