Contact: Laurence Grotheer
May 1, 2012
State Senator Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge) today voted with a resounding majority of his Senate colleagues for legislation to prohibit people, businesses, labor organizations and employment agencies from advertising job opportunities in a way that discriminates against job seekers simply because they are unemployed.
There is already state law to prohibit employers from discrimination based upon a person’s race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, or their present or past history of mental, intellectual, learning or physical disability. Senator Crisco said this new law would simply prevent additional exclusion based upon a job seekers employment status.
“Many of those who are unemployed in Connecticut find themselves looking for work through no fault of their own—more likely their former employer had layoffs, shut down, or moved—so the last thing they need is insult to injury from potential employers with arbitrary discrimination against the employment status,” Senator Crisco said. “This bill would correct a most egregious affront, not just denial of a person’s right to work, but denial of a person’s right to seek work.”
According to the Society for Human Management, Oregon and the District of Columbia have already passed unemployed discrimination laws, and at least a dozen other states are considering—or have considered—some sort of protection for unemployed job applicants during their 2012 legislative sessions, including California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
At the federal level, President Barack Obama backed a proposal last fall to make it unlawful for a business with 15 or more employees to not hire someone due to their employment status.
Connecticut’s March unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, representing some 148,000 residents. This is the state’s lowest unemployment rate in three years, according to the state Department of Labor.
Senator Crisco said Senate Bill 79 now advances to the House of Representatives for its consideration. Should the measure be signed into law it would take effect October 1. Violations would be subject to a variety of corrective actions, including cease and desist orders, the payment of back wages, or the hiring or reinstatement of employees.
More information and statistics about Connecticut’s current employment trends are available at the state Department of Labor Web site.
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Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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