HR News & Trends

Unemployed Discrimination? Big Media Wakes Up, Discovers the Story

unemployment discrimination

If you read TLNT, you surely are well familiar with this: discrimination against unemployed workers is a hot topic that has been around for the better part of a year, if not longer.

It’s an emotional issue and highly newsworthy given America’s current economic condition. That’s why I have written about it a number of times, as has attorney John Gallagher (on numerous occasions), Dr. John Sullivan, Kevin Grossman, and many others. Back in April, we even had a post from attorney Eric Meyer about New Jersey banning “unemployed need not apply” ads.

In other words, this has been a highly newsworthy topic that has been talked about and kicked around in the news for quite some time. And, that’s why it is so surprising that just today, The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record that usually sets the bar for all other media, finally figured out that yes, discrimination against the unemployed is taking place.

What a shocking discovery.

What The New York Times finally discovered

In a story titled The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk, the Times reported today that:

The unemployed need not apply.

That is the message being broadcast by many of the nation’s employers, making it even more difficult for 14 million jobless Americans to get back to work.

A recent review of job vacancy postings on popular sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder and Craigs List revealed hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least “strongly prefer”) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.

Unemployed workers have long suspected that the gaping holes on their résumés left them less attractive to employers. But with the country in the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, many had hoped employers would be more forgiving.”

You can find the rest of the story here.

What took so long?

It’s not unreasonable to wonder why America’s newspaper of record is just now discovering a huge and meaningful story that has been all over the news for the past year (or more), but now that the Times has made its discovery public, get ready for the major television networks, cable news outlets, and all manner of pundits and pontificators to get on their high horse and rail against the notion that business is discriminating so publicly against  those out of work.

There is certainly nothing wrong with this debate; in fact, it should be welcomed because it is a long time coming.

But that’s the point. What took The New York Times so long to wake up and figure out that advertising that “unemployed need not apply” is a story worth reporting on? Maybe they missed it because, as Eric Meyer pointed out, they only went so far as to pass a law against it across the river in New Jersey. And, everyone knows that the NYT doesn’t really cover New Jersey much anyway.

How America’s newspaper of record missed such a significant story for so long is a question worth a debate itself. For now, just steel yourself for the onslaught of stories and coverage of this issue, especially once the debt limit ceiling issue gets resolved, because Big Media, like The New York Times, all too often takes its own sweet time getting around to covering some pretty significant issues in the news.

Remember, like with the ongoing story about “unemployed need not apply,” you read it here first.

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of TLNT.com, and the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices. Contact him at john@tlnt.com, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnhollon.
  • http://www.brendagriffin.com/ Brenda Griffin

    I have seem tweets for jobs stating, “If you’re already making 85k and want to join our winning team….”

    And directly from a head hunter – “Others simply have recent experience and are therefore better candidates.”

    I’m disappointed with the individuals making these short sided decisions. They are doing a disservice to their organizations, job seekers, and the country as far as I’m concerned.

    But at the end of the day, this is America and they can do this because the can…doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  • glamq

    Keep discriminating and those desperate to feed their children will be robbing a house near you.