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Labor Advocates Won't Let Up Against Jobless Discrimination

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WASHINGTON -- For the past several months one labor advocacy group has continuously hammered companies that list job postings discriminating against the jobless.

National Employment Law Project on Wednesday lobbed its latest attack on CareerBuilder.com, which NELP says won't stop posting ads that stipulate applicants must be "currently employed."

"Employers and firms continue to post ads that refuse to even consider the unemployed, regardless of their qualifications," executive director of NELP, Christine Owens, said in a statement. "It's unfair to workers and bad for the economy. We need to be putting Americans back to work, not stigmatizing and prolonging their unemployment."

NELP pointed to five recent listings on CareerBuilder.com with discriminatory language. The unveiling of the job listings by NELP comes just one day after senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to CareerBuilder.com CEO Matt Ferguson asking the website to prohibit companies form posting job ads that discriminate against applicants based on employment status.

"Although employers should have the right to staff according to their needs, preemptive discrimination not only harms those most in need of employment but can also arbitrarily deny employers with workers who are eager to contribute to the economy," they wrote in the letter.

In response to an email query from HuffPost, Careerbuilder did not directly answer whether they would be taking down the discriminatory job listings.

"CareerBuilder strongly supports fair and equal hiring practices. Every segment of the workforce brings unique skills and value to the workplace. If you exclude any segment from your applicant pool, you are missing out on valuable talent that could benefit your organization. We encourage all of our customers to consider applicants of all backgrounds. We also are concerned about the number of unemployed people in the U.S. and are always looking for ways to help lower that number. We will continue to do this," the email said.

In August, the three democratic senators introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act, which would prohibit employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider job applicants solely because they are unemployed. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced similar legislation in the House.

The Democrats' anti-discrimination proposal is included in President Obama's American Jobs Act. The President has said the practice of discriminating against the unemployed makes "absolutely no sense" given the employment crisis facing the country. National unemployment is currently at 9.1 percent, and of the 14 million unemployed Americans, 44.6 percent have been out of work 6 months or longer. Republicans have not signaled their support for the anti-discrimination proposal.

Careerbuilder.com is not the only website that has run into criticism for posting the discriminatory ads.

Last month, Indeed.com announced that it would start blocking ads excluding the unemployed from openings saying, "Indeed.com strives to proved the best job search experience for job seekers. 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."

Also last month, about 250,000 Americans sent petitions to Congress opposing hiring practices that discriminate against the unemployed.

Another website, Monster.com, has refused to take down its job postings with discriminatory language, and has stated that while it opposes discrimination, the company "believe[s] it is the responsibility of the employers themselves, rather than Monster, to decide what they say in their job postings and how they want their company to be viewed."

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