Tech & Work

Are the jobless discriminated against in hiring?

Could a gap in your work history be costing you potential job opportunities?

It's certainly one of the most ironic concepts I've heard in a while. Some employers, when looking to fill jobs, don't want to hire the unemployed. In other words, an employment gap is becoming a tough sale in today's "war for talent" environment.

Some employers prefer the benefits of "passive" candidates — workers who are already holding a job and therefore are considered likely to be solid contributors.

I can't imagine any attitude more frustrating for the nearly 14 million people who are currently jobless in the U.S.

Some contend that such practices could violate equal opportunity laws. Because of such concerns and the fact that 6 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a hearing on the subject in February. In March, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) introduced a bill to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect against discrimination on the basis of "unemployment status" (with the legislation defining "unemployment status" as "being unemployed, having actively looked for employment during the then most recent four-week period, and currently being available for employment.'').

Have any of you ever been told directly at some point in an interview that a gap in your job history could be detrimental?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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