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In President Obama "American Jobs Act
of 2011", he wants to place a measure
making unemployment discrimination illegal,
House GOP leaders seek to stop it.
A great provision in President Obama's American Jobs Act, which was presented to Congress on in the form of a bill proposal on Monday, would make it illegal for employers to run advertisements saying that they will not consider unemployed workers for interviews and disregard certain classes of job seekers due to being on unemployed or receiving jobless benefits.
Called the "Prohibition of Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of an Individual's Status as Unemployed,"in President Obama's Act would make it illegal for employers to request that employment agencies take into account individual employment status.
Additionally aggrieved job-seekers could seek damages if they can prove they have been discriminated against.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), was particularly bothered by this part of the bill, arguing that Obama's proposal is aimed at creating a new, "special class" of people who can sue companies.
"So if you're unemployed, and you go to apply for a job and you're not hired for that job, see a lawyer," Gohmert said in The Hill. "You might be able to file a claim because you got discriminated against because you're unemployed," he noted.He said this provision would only discourage companies from interviewing unemployed candidates--which would be illegal by President Obama proposal in the bill-- and would "help trial lawyers who are not having enough work," since there are about 14 million unemployed Americans.
"That's 14 million potential new clients that could go hire a lawyer and file a claim because they didn't get hired even though they were unemployed," he said.It this a bad thing considering the rampant discrimination taking place against the unemployed?
Under the bill, companies saying they will not consider jobless candidates could face a court order, a fine of up to $1,000 per day or "reasonable attorney's fees." Other violations could lead to damages as high as $5,000.
Enforcement of the new language would be carried out by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) using the same power they have under the Civil Rights Act and the Government Employee Rights Act.
Gohmert also criticized other parts of Obama's proposal, such as language that would create a program allowing workers to be reimbursed if their employer cuts their work hours by 10%.