The unemployment rate for African-Americans now soars at an astonishing 15.8 percent, the highest it has been in years. African-Americans also have an unemployment rate that is twice as more than whites (who come in at a lower 7.7 percent), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Could discrimination be a culprit in the high unemployment rate for African-Americans?
Many African-Americans site race-related discriminatory hiring practices as a challenge when looking for work. Could this be a reason that the Black unemployment rate is so high? Could there be a lack of postings for jobs at companies interested in diversity?
One form of discrimination that has been documented is against the unemployed. Some employers were caught posting available jobs with the attached statement, “NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL.” States like New Jersey have started to crack down on this practice. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie signed a law that prohibits companies from posting jobs with such application requirements. Violators can be fined up to $1,000 for the first offense and up to $5,000 for subsequent offenses. New Jersey state Rep. Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland) explained to The Huffington Post, why she supports the bill and not the employers:
“My district has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, and when jobs are few and far between, I don’t want somebody saying, ‘Just because you’re unemployed I’m not gonna hire you,’” she told The Huffington Post. “There’s the old theory of ‘you need a job to get a job,’ but that’s absolutely unacceptable. You should be employed based on your skills and what you bring to the table.”
It is usually thought that African-Americans are discriminated against based on race while job searching. Discrimination can also come from different angles, such as this case of discrimination against the unemployed. While this is not directly race-related, it may have a greater impact on the already large African-American unemployment rate than it does for the unemployment rate of whites.
In the end, no one should be discriminated against when looking for work based on any factor, whether it is age, gender, race or employment status. In current times of high unemployment rates it is important to get people jobs for which they are qualified.