WatchSonoma Watch

Allen bill would prohibit discrimination against unemployed


It’s the ultimate dilemma for job-seekers: To get a job, some employers require you to have a job.

Such hiring policies would be illegal under a bill proposed by Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-San Rafael.

His measure, AB 1450, would impose fines on employers or employment agencies that refuse to consider out-of-work applicants for job openings.

Such policies are currently legal but encourage a permanent underclass, Allen said.

“Once you go into the unemployed bin, you stay in that bin,” he said.

Similar legislative efforts are underway in Congress. And New Jersey has passed a state law prohibiting advertisements stating that only the employed may apply for a job, according to the National Unemployment Law Project, a New York-based advocacy group that supports Allen’s bill.

With the nation’s unemployment rate at 8.5 percent, the jobless “should not be penalized for the fact that there’s only one job publicized for every four unemployed workers,” said Maurice Emsellem, a policy co-director in the group’s Oakland office.

Last summer the group published a report on the issue. The researchers “found a lot of ads very quickly” containing language that set current employment as a requirement for those wishing to apply for work, Emsellem said.

“That led us to believe it was a pretty common practice,” he said.

Allen said the advocacy group brought the issue to his attention.

The California Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday that it has yet to take a position on the bill.

Business groups are “mulling” the legislation, Allen said. He suggested that their biggest concern to date has been whether the bill amounts to “interfering” with who ultimately gets hired.

“That’s not what this bill is about,” Allen said. His bill focuses on the screening process by businesses and employment agencies, not on the final hiring selection.

22 Responses to “Allen bill would prohibit discrimination against unemployed”

  1. Whatever says:

    @Jason V

    Hey, what’s JIM JUDD up to these days? Still keep in touch with him? He came so close….so close….. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa!!!!!

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  2. Jason Valez says:

    It’s obvious that Michael Allen wrote this bill because he’s afraid no one will hire him after he loses the election in November.

    With his record of conflict of interest, working four or five jobs during the same 8 hour day, attacking opponents and assaulting them, he’s not a good candidate for any job.

    The big guys in Sacramento must have been saving this legislation for someone who looked like they were going to lose in a local race—they probably figured that Michael Allen needed the boost or he’ll be toast.

    He does look like a stale bit of yesterday’s discards. Good try with the ‘feel-good’ bill. Michael Allen can’t win unless he registers the homeless and drives them to the polls himself.

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  3. Mrs. Kravitz says:

    I agree with Jesse Custer.

    These regulations protect California’s high standard of living. We enjoy clean water, air and some of us even enjoy “civil rights.”

    If your company doesn’t like “regulations”. Move to Texas where you can treat the Earth like a sewer and your employees like roadkill.

    Loyal California companies are willing to sacrifice a small percentage of profits to protect our environment and civil rights.

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  4. Not A Chance says:

    @ Joyce

    I tired to reply but my answer wasn’t sufficiently nice enough for your pal Ted. He likes to protect your feelings even though you all get to use perverse language and rhetoric on a consistent basis, you should send him a fruit basket.

    Fact of the matter is this, you believing that it is ok for qualified adults to be discriminated against simply because they’re out of work is terrible, preposterous even. And I have to agree with Jesse (as I did in my previous post that the PD ran interference on)about your little hypothetical fairytale, a ridiculous waste of your time, do you really believe that the unemployed are just a bunch of teenage kids trying to become accountants? OPEN YOUR EYES, LADY! California has 11%+ unemployment, many of whom have at least a BA and cannot find work (and are told to not apply for positions for which they are qualified but have an undesirable employment status), next time you speak hypothetically add some reality to it and it may actually have an effect on your audience.

    And I don’t think you’re a bad person because we disagree, I think you’re a bad person because of the lack of compassion you hold for the needy in our local community, you care about yourself and yourself alone your writings prove that on a weekly basis.

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  5. GAJ says:

    Over the years we hired thousands of people at our company.

    A qualified applicant who interviewed well was never turned down because they were unemployed.

    A qualified applicant who did not interview well or who’s references didn’t check out would be passed over.

    But if you had numerous qualified applicants who interviewed well, those with big gaps in their employment history would be at a disadvantage if there was no clear logical explanation for those gaps.

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  6. Jesse Custer says:

    Yeah, my heart bleeds for business and the ever-increasing regulations they must follow. I’m also tired of all this bs about driving business out of California. High taxes? Myth. Excessive regulation? Myth. In an economy like this, it’s hardly surprising that so many people have been out of work for so long: few jobs and lots of applicants. Low skilled jobs don’t like to hire people with too many qualifications. But no, let’s continue another myth about these people are just loozers who should do us all a favor and swallow a bullet already. I especially like the example of the loozer 17 year old. Nice example of critical thinking, always in abundance here on Watch Sonoma’s Crazies.

    Oh, and examples of business laws that are ridiculous: the USPS not being able to raise prices above the rate of inflation, having to fund it’s retirement benefits 75 years into the future, for letter carriers who haven’t even been born yet. Thank you Congress! And kudos to FedEx, waiting in the wings to take over the “failing” USPS. And another union is brought down. We’re paying $10/hr and you should consider yourself LUCK to even get that!

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  7. mockingbird says:

    You all seem to miss the point. Businesses STILL need to make sure they are hiring a skilled employee. No one says that they should hire someone with no skills. The whole point is to EVALUATE all applicants fairly and not automaticly discount any applicant BECAUSE THEY ARE UNEMPLOYED. Jeez, this is basic people. Why do you keep assuming the worse EVERY SINGLE TIME?.

    When trade union members are laid off they go on a list for rehire. Sometimes they’re off for quite a long time until a job comes up. THEY ARE STILL QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB.

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  8. Not A Chance says:


    First, lets get this out of the way, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The bill and the problem aren’t anywhere close to the context you sited in your first comment. This isn’t about some punk kid coming up and applying for a job they aren’t qualified for, its about qualified applicants being denied even the opportunity to apply due to their employment status and potentially their government assistance status. Your little hypothetical lacks the teeth necessary to deal with the issue at hand, its about previously employed individuals being discriminated against. The bill isn’t about first time employment, good God lady turn on the television, the millions who are unemployed aren’t just a bunch of teenage drop outs smoking weed. They are 40 year old 50 year old individuals who have families to raise. And if you have a problem with that, yeah I think you’re a bad person, deal with it.

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  9. Joyce Garcia says:

    @ Not A Chance, read my prior comment and you tell me why legitimate business would not be FORCED out of CA if a lawless law like the proposed would be dictated to them?

    As for your comment: “Once again I find that the vast majority of WSC posters are just not good people, Christians I’m sure, but good people? No.”

    So you are saying that people who don’t have the same mindset as you are bad people? Anyone with an opinion that you don’t agree with are bad people? I thought diversity was welcome, well at least that is what ya’ll preach from the mountaintop! You may be a hypocrite, but that may not totally make you a bad person. …but then again, I may be totally wrong.

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  10. Reality Check says:


    I’ve read articles about companies that don’t accept applications from people unemployed longer than 6 months. And I can speak from personal experience, many employers look skeptically at applicants who’ve been unemployed for longer than a short time. They do so based on hard and costly experience.

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  11. Joyce Garcia says:

    So I’m 17 years old and I really, really want a job paying $25.00 an hour in an accounting firm which is responsible for million dollar individual private accounts but I have no experience, no previous qualifications and I really, really suck at math because I decided to drop out of school and just go to work.

    Are you telling me that as an employer…I would have to hire this irresponsible high school drop out cause he never had a job before? This little fool would be the death of the company who hired him.

    How about this….rather than picking and choosing who we should not discriminate against…that look to the Constitution and remember that we are all equal and with that in mind, KNOW that these groups of choice…Latin’s, Blacks, the poor, gays…who or what ever it is…these are given special treatment and privileges over everyone else! Is that equality? This needs to stop!!!!

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  12. Anderson says:

    People need to be hired on merit, and businesses need to select wisely from available candidates to make sure it’s a good fit.

    This is not about charity – it’s about doing the right thing for the individual company AND its employees to make sure they remain competitive and prosper.

    Allen makes no sense, as with many of his laughable out-of-touch proposals. No surprise that it’s the same old left-wing hack posters with their fairytale ideas support him.

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  13. Reality Check says:

    Anyone who thinks there is no justification for employers to prefer hiring from the ranks of the employed hasn’t themselves experienced hiring the unemployed.

    Those employers who have had experience in hiring people unemployed know every well that the risk of a bad hire increases dramatically. And for many small businesses that is a burden they just can’t afford.

    Allen is the classic politician who hasn’t a clue about what it takes to succeed in business.

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  14. GAJ says:

    I have never run into ANY business that has this policy, have any of you?

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  15. Not A Chance says:

    Why in the world would businesses flee California because they have to employ people who are unemployed? THINK ABOUT HOW RIDICULOUS YOU SOUND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE!!! Why would they leave? and why would any of you give these businesses your money?

    Once again I find that the vast majority of WSC posters are just not good people, Christians I’m sure, but good people? No.

    It has been the nature of our Christian society to be charitable to our neighbors, especially those who are on hard times. And believe it or not, being unemployed is hard, and finding a job in this economy is no small task even without inhibitors like the latest gimmick of the Job Creators, oh I mean Aristocratic Class, telling them that because they are on hard times, we don’t want you. This will create a permanent underclass, and let me tell you WSC, if you hated poor people before, you’re really going to hate them when its permanent.

    Have fun a church pretending like you give a crap.

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  16. mockingbird says:

    Brian Brown-it not just about heart it’s about what’s right. In some areas unemployment is so high, yet the people hiring make a point of hiring from outside the area. Many of the unemployed are highly skilled, educated and would make excellent employees but they need to be given a chance. I wish the Congress would give a credit to businesses for every unemployed person hired. It’s just another form of prejudice, like the Republicans saying that the unemployed are lazy and they could find a job if they really wanted to. And it’s unfair to people who really want to work and want to help support their families.
    I say, hurray for Allen, representing the middleclass workers and their families. So much vitriol from posters on this site and the Press Democrat against Allen. But he’s coming through for the middleclass and that’s most of us. That’s why I volunteered for him and voted for him. He’s doing exactly what I expected he would do. He represents the people that voted for him and even those that didn’t.

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  17. Let's All Pay More says:

    If you want to drive more business out of California, Allen is you man.

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  18. Jim says:

    Just more worry for businesses, more regulation. The lawyers are going to love this one.

    Way to waste taxpayer money, Allen.

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  19. Reality Check says:

    While Allen’s proposal is probably unenforceable in a practical sense, it has potential to harm business, which may be good enough for those who like Allen.

    As has happened with other “civil rights” and quota formulas that become law, prosecutors will subpoena hiring records looking for anomalies in the percentage of employed vs. unemployed hired. If the stats look improbable, the business can expect to be sued, and will have wished it had played it safe and gone to Texas.

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  20. Donna Norton says:

    There’s no argument that justifies requiring current employment as a qualifying condition for obtaining employment. A particular skill, professional license, certificate, training, level of education or training related to a job are all valid considerations. But according an employment reserved only for the employed formula, if a company goes out of business, those who lost their jobs would be subject to perpetual unemployment.

    It’s called unfair discrimination. And, yes, laws against its practice are very enforceable.

    Thank you, Assemblyman Allen for introducing the bill.

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  21. The Hammer says:

    Unenforceable! He is wasting his time.

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  22. Brian Brown says:

    Look, I understand where the heart is on this and it is a dilemma that the prospective employee could be subject to. But a am NOT happy with the growing regulations against business. That’s right “against”. This is insane. If you want to start a business, here is your message, “welcome to California. we find you guilty as charged”

    Is it worth it?

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