This past month, California Governor Jerry Brown and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed bills that would have greatly limited employers from considering an applicant’s unemployment status in hiring decisions. This is the second time that both governors have vetoed legislation addressing “unemployment discrimination” (Christie’s first veto was conditional). A similar type of bill also recently failed in New Hampshire’s state senate.
Interestingly enough, New Jersey became the first state in the country to target unemployment discrimination when, in 2011, Governor Christie signed a modified bill prohibiting advertisements that discriminate against the unemployed (but still allowing employers to otherwise consider unemployment status in hiring decisions). Since then, Oregon and Chicago have enacted advertisement bans, while D.C., N.Y.C., and Madison (WI) went a step further to restrict the use of an applicant’s unemployment status in hiring decisions.
Despite some success at the local level, the recent string of legislative failures in California, New Jersey, and New Hampshire may signify a waning momentum behind this movement. Only time will tell.