Will Chicago Ban Discrimination Against Unemployed? Alderman Hopes So

02/16/2012 12:24 pm ET

If one Chicago alderman gets his way, city employers will no longer be able to discriminate against unemployed job applicants.

The proposal, from Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), would update the city's Human Rights Ordinance to prohibit companies from rejecting potential employees on the basis that they are unemployed or have bad credit, NBC Chicago reports.

Pawar, a freshman alderman, introduced the proposal last fall to an enthusiastic response from the rest of the City Council -- all but nine of them signed off on adding "credit history" and "gap in employment history" to the ordinance's protected categories, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Pawar was reportedly inspired to pen the proposal after noticing that some online job postings state that the "unemployed need not apply." At a time where unemployment remains startlingly high both nationwide and locally, the alderman told Fox News last fall that such postings "create a permanent class of unemployable people, and to me that is totally unacceptable."

Pawar also said research has failed to draw a connection between credit rating and job performance and that every job seeker "deserves a fair shake."

As of late last month, unemployment in the Chicagoland area was on the rise -- to 9.3 percent -- even as statewide unemployment dipped slightly.

New Jersey has already banned such discrimination from taking place in their state and a bill was also introduced in Congress last fall that would do the same, according to the Tribune.

President Obama also included discrimination against the unemployed in his American Jobs Act. The president criticized employers' warning that applicants "must be currently employed" as a requirement that "makes absolutely no sense."

A council committee held a hearing on the proposal Thursday morning.