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10/07/2011

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Since you asked, I'll resist the urge to pontificate on whether or not declaring the unemployed a protected class is a good idea.

What will the effect be on HR if it does occur? Obviously, HR will have to document a reason that will need to be defensible for each unemployed person that applies who is not selected. This will be necessary to "prove" it wasn't just because the applicant was unemployed. And it may be a minor point, but does the company rely on the applicant to self-report that they are unemployed?

Although it is not stated in the article, I believe the proposed legislation encourages unemployed applicants to file a complaint with the DOL if they believe they were turned down because they were unemployed. Perhaps this is implicitly stated just by saying the unemployed become a protected class, and I'm just a little slow. I just wanted to state it explicitly.

Another effect could likely be fewer job openings, as companies weigh the benefit of hiring another employee versus the potential costs of perhaps multiple discrimination claims per job opening. This may lead to more work per opening if fewer hirings lead to more applicants per postion. Or alternatively, fewer positions may lead to less staffing needs for internmal recruiting departments.

More outsourced recruiting may happen as well, as it may be less risky to an organization to have a third party do the initial sourcing and screening for applicants than to do it in-house.

I am sure there are others I'm not thinking of now, and the point may be moot as it seems the bill is unlikely to pass, at least in its current form. But it is a high-profile piece of legislation with impact on our profession, so it deserves discussion.

I have not always been in compensation, I started in employee/labor relations then moved to employment and finally to compensation & benefits. If I learned one thing in my travels it is that it is as deadly to the organization to pay someone too much as it is too pay them too little.

Paying an individual below market or less than others in the same position opens the organization up to potential discrimination complaints – is the previously unemployed individual you just hired a female, minority, veteran, over 40, have any type of disability, or anything else that might be actionable?

Paying an individual incorrectly (too much or too little) just creates problems that are going to need to be addressed later on. And it is far easier, less expensive, and creates far less of an employee relations issue to do it right the first time.

Scott supplies a pretty extensive if not comprehensive set of potential consequences. Note that the detail in the All Information section of the American Jobs Act link, near the bottom, places the same compulsions and penalties on third-party outside recruiters, so the liability can't be easily transferred. Headhunters will be identically affected... maybe even worse for them, since they may not know what the employer may have said or done that could trigger charges against them all.

Jim C.: I began in employment before LR, and later comp, myself and agree with your view. Unreasonable expectations are extremely difficult to handle, especially when they reflect personal self-image.

I agree this will probably create a number of trivial lawsuits from unsuccessful jobless applicants that feel unfairly treated (and, let's face it, frustrated). The positive effect of that, however, may be to encourage firms to hire a 'quota' of unemployed which will help alleviate the problem for some. Tokenism's an ugly word but sometimes it's all you've got.

This is the much important law related to employment act... Well the thing i understood from it is the Recruiter can not show discrimination on the basis of cast, color or any other thing in the time of selection

Jobs in New Zealand

I find it a little sad that this is what we've come to. And I see this as quite similar to the (over)inflation of formal educational requirements in job postings. (e.g. non-exempt administrative coordinators needing bachelor level degrees and professional certifications) The media reports that there is a significant mismatch between available talent and job openings. Is this really the case or have WE created an artificial problem because we're too lazy/risk-adverse to train and develop workers for new challenges? Companies frequently demand that new-hires be able to “hit the ground running”, does everyone really need this ability or can some workers be developed on the job? Additional legislation is probably not the answer, but the current trend isn’t working either.

Masood: Such employment discrimination based on race or religion has been illegal in the U.S. for almost 50 years. I've never known of any American discrimination based on caste.

Windsor: Yes, sad it is, to have this level of unemployment while banks won't issue loans, businesses sit on their cash, schools teach subjects with no employment applications and HR types escalate entry requirements. "No risk" seems to be the theme of the day. Don't recall any economic recovery fueled by caution. Maybe the next suggestion will be to make formal degree requirements illegal except for MDs and LLBs.

Although it is taboo currently to wax political on HR and compensation related topics, I am starting to wonder how long we can hold out.

If the government continues to take a hard turn to socialist or even command and control approach on employment and compensation, at what point do we 'strategist' and 'administrators' become complicit in the destruction of our country and our own way of life.

Sure we get paid to comply and to navigate the regulatory and business environment the best we can, but that does not release us from our duties as citizens, voters, and nieghbors to those who are unemployed because of absolutely destructive government policies.

At some point, will we say 'enough' and begin to use our industry credentials to opine, influence, or even formally and collectively lobby for sane policy?

What say ye?

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