Pennsylvania Moving to Ban Discrimination Against Unemployed

By Eric B. Meyer

In 2011, New Jersey passed a law banning discrimination against the unemployed. Will Pennsylvania follow suit in 2013?

The ball is rolling….

The Pennsylvania House introduced its own unemployment-discrimination bill on January 22, 2013, and you can view a copy of it here.

Here’s the Cliffs Notes version:

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  • Employers CAN’T use one’s unemployment as a negative factor when considering candidates for job openings.
  • However, employers CAN consider an individual’s employment history or factual and objective reasons underlying an individual’s unemployment status in assessing an individual’s ability to perform the vacant job.
  • Employers CAN’T advertise anything resembling “unemployed need not apply.”
  • However, employers CAN assess whether an individual’s employment in a similar or related job for a period of time reasonably proximate to the consideration of the individual for employment is consistent with industry practice and necessary to successful performance of the vacant job

Employers that violate the law face fines and potential civil litigation. The statute of limitations is 2 years and taking adverse action against an individual within 90 days of the person’s exercise of rights protected under the Act raises a rebuttable presumption of retaliation.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.


6 Comments on “Pennsylvania Moving to Ban Discrimination Against Unemployed

  1. Employers will find a way around this – they always do! These things look good on paper but in practice they really don’t help someone get a job.

  2. This is all well and good but I agree with Texas native. It’s not like an employer will ever tell you why he’s not hiring you. They aren’t usually that stupid. And then you have to prove your case.

  3. Easy way out for employers is to do what they do for other discrimination claims: “We found somebody who was more qualified”. End of story.

  4. I’m with Texas native and Jacque. Some employers get around that like
    they get around everything else–like discrimination. It doesn’t really
    help in the end. How can it be enforced? Exactly!

  5. The only real teeth would be to prohibit business, be they partnerships, private businesses or corporations, from doing business in Pennsylvania if found guilty for x many years.

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