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American Jobs Act to Prohibit Discrimination Against the Unemployed

Posted on 16 Sep 2011

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Last week, President Obama made a televised speech to Congress touting his "American Jobs Act" plan to put Americans back to work. The White House issued an American Jobs Act Fact Sheet, which includes  tax cuts, building projects, and tax credits. Also, included are provisions that would prohibit discrimination against job applicants on the basis of their unemployment status and that would levy fines of up to $1,000 a day.

The President’s plan calls for legislation that would make it unlawful to refuse to hire applicants solely because they are unemployed or to include in a job posting a provision that unemployed persons will not be considered.

Under the act's provisions, employers and employment agencies would be prohibited from publishing in any medium an ad for an employee for any job that disqualifies unemployed individuals, or provides they will not be considered for positions. Firms still would be able to consider individuals' employment histories and examine the reasons for their unemployment.

Fines for violating the act would include liquidated damages of up to $1,000 for each day's violation and attorneys' fees and costs. The act would pre-empt state laws.