The job market in Michigan has for some workers become like a game of musical chairs, and someone keeps swiping the seats from the game. The result has meant that some out-of-work Michiganders, and there are a lot of them – about 500,000, according to the State of Michigan – take longer to find work than they might have needed in a robust economy.
And though those workers have no control over the economy as a whole, they are certainly feeling penalized for being out of work, even if their jobless state is not of their own making.
According to a story in the New York Times this week, employers are openly admitting to excluding the unemployed from …. well, being considered for employment. Want ads in a sampling of papers around the country make it clear that the out-of-work need not apply.
In an economy that’s the worst for workers since the Great Depression, some Michigan lawmakers are saying that’s not fair, and earlier this year introducted House Bill 4675, which would prohibit employers seeking to hire workers from discriminating against the unemployed.
It’s a nice thought, but the bill probably has no chance of passing. And even if it did, what good would it do?
Bingham Farms-based employment lawyer Robert M. Vercruysse said that many employers find the unemployed to be attractive job candidates. He noted that they are able and eager to start work immediately, and “there are no non-compete issues and they will generally take the job offer at the pay range posted.”
But for those who don’t see the practical upside of hiring unemployed workers, proving that an employer is refusing to consider the jobless candidate would be “very difficult to prove,” he said.