Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

Bill Barring Discrimination Against Unemployed Advances in General Assembly

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Legislative Developments

Let’s all agree, at the outset, that getting people re-employed — particularly those who have been unemployed for a while — is a worthy goal.

How do you get there?  Job training? Education?

The Connecticut General Assembly is taking a different tactic — just make it illegal for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed. A bill on that very point passed the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon by a 81-55 vote.

But the CBIA has pointed out that the House Bill 5274 has numerous problems with it that could open employers up to frivolous claims, as the CBIA highlighted in a post on Friday:

…HB 5274 could open the door to countless, meritless and costly civil claims against businesses by unemployed individuals who believe, with or without any evidence, the reason they were not hired is because they are currently unemployed.

HB 5274 prohibits discrimination against unemployed people in job postings. However, it also allows those individuals to bring a claim against a business that doesn’t hire them if the candidates believe their jobless status was the reason they weren’t hired.

Unlike any type of legal claim, under HB 5274, an unemployed individual’s ability to guess the motivations and thoughts of another individual can now be the basis for civil claims.

A state legislator posed the issue a different way during the debate:

“Under this bill, someone could send out 100 resumes, [have] zero employment history, not get a job and then file 100 complaints with the labor commissioner,” said Rep. John Shaban, R-Redding. “Is that what we’re really pushing for?”

Employers who want to review the bill for themselves can review the bill status here, the text of the bill here (along with a passed amendment), and the bill analysis here.

The bill now moves on to state Senate.  Governor Malloy has indicated his strong support for such a measure.

Connecticut would appear to be the first state to advance such protections — though New Jersey, Oregon and District of Columbia have some type of laws that bar employers from stating in advertisements that they will only hire currently employed individuals.  New York City, however, has adopted full “protected category” status to being unemployed.

The General Assembly is not yet done for the season. For employers interested in the issue, be sure to contact your state Senator to express your views.

  • Craig Hensel

    This is ridiculous. Extended periods of unemployment or extremely sporadic employment can easily be the result of the person being a terrible employee. One might as well outlaw deductive reasoning as a means of determining who to hire. I do not look forward to the future in which coin flips are the only legal means of choosing between candidates for a job.