By David Elliot
Indeed.com, reportedly the largest job listing website in the U.S., has announced it will stop posting job ads that refuse applications from unemployed candidates.
Earlier this summer, USAction launched an online petition drive to outlaw hiring discrimination against the unemployed. Although we were the first to launch an online drive, we weren’t the first to document this egregious practice. That distinction goes to our friends over at the National Employment Law Project, which released a report showing that employers of all sizes and staffing agencies are using recruitment and hiring policies that expressly deny employment to the unemployed – simply because they are not working.
The NELP study reviewed job postings that appeared on four of the nation’s most prominent online job listing websites: CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com and Craigslist. NELP identified more than 150 ads that openly discriminated based on employment status. The overwhelming majority of the discriminatory ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.”
After the NELP study was released and widely distributed, USAction’s petition drive targeted companies like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com and asked them to stop posting ads that discriminate against the unemployed. Later, Change.org, CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org launched their own petition drives, and together we’ve gathered more than 243,000 signatures!
At first, we didn’t get the answer we wanted, although Monster.com did help generate some publicity by sending us a “cease and desist” letter.
But now, momentum is growing against hiring discrimination. Legislation is pending in both chambers of Congress and has been introduced in several states. Late last month, President Obama endorsed the legislation during an appearance on the Tom Joyner Show.
And with Indeed.com’s announcement this week, the good news continues. The company’s announcement was first reported by Change.org:
“Indeed.com strives to provide the best job search experience for job seekers,” said Indeed.com Communications Director Sophie Beaupere. “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.”
So what’s next? USAction realizes that even if the practice of employment discrimination ended today, we still would not have enough jobs in our country for the almost 14 million unemployed and 25 million un- or under-employed Americans who want them. That’s why USAction is ratcheting up its “Good Jobs for Everyone in America” campaign, which calls for ending hiring discrimination, extending federal unemployment insurance beyond 2011 and passing robust jobs legislation like Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act, which would create two million public-sector jobs over the next two years.
David Elliot is the Communications Director USAction / USAction Education Fund.