From the New York Times: Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.
Some states, such as New Jersey, are already passing laws to prevent employers from posting job ads that bar unemployed candidates from even applying.
However, even in job candidates aren’t being initially disqualified because of their unemployment status, they are being disqualified due to credit or other background checks required by the company.
“I worry that unemployment may eventually come down, not because older workers who have been unemployed for a year or two find jobs,” Professor Shimer, a labor economist at the University of Chicago, said, “but because older workers finally give up and drop out of the labor force.”