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Unemployment Discrimination?

Since the start of the Great Recession in late 2007, many people who lost their jobs have been struggling to reenter the workforce. Making things more difficult, employers have shown a growing prejudice against unemployed job seekers. Some have gone so far as to flatly state that the unemployed need not apply.

New Jersey legislators stepped up to curb this practice. In 2011, New Jersey made history by enacting a first-of-its-kind ban on job advertisements that make current employment a requirement for applicants. Employers who violate the law face a $1,000 civil penalty for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

Unfortunately, the law still has weaknesses:

  • While the law levies civil fines, it does not give job applicants an individual right to sue.
  • The law prohibits discriminatory advertisements but does not actually prevent employers from considering employment status during the hiring process.

Around the time New Jersey put its law into effect, federal legislators proposed amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would add the unemployed to the list of classes that receive protection under federal employment law.

This bill would go much further than New Jersey’s new law by:

  • Prohibiting covered employers from considering employment status
  • Giving individuals who are denied jobs because of their unemployment status the right to file charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission —and to ultimately file private suits in federal court with the help of an employment discrimination lawyer.
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Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey's premiere practitioners of employment and civil litigation. Mr. Atkins has also been included in the Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers* in Employment Litigation since 2005. Mr. Atkins believes employees have rights that should be aggressively pursued when an employer has wrongfully dealt…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

Robert  J.  Pantina Attorney Photo
Robert J. Pantina
Attorney

About Robert J. Pantina joined the firm in 2018. Mr. Pantina received his B.A. from Rider University in 2008. He received his J.D. from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2017. While in law school, Mr. Pantina interned for the Hon. Bonnie J. Mizdol, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of…

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Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

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