Latest brainstorm. Let's sue companies who don't hire the unemployed!

Well, at least they’re focusing on jobs, even if only for trial lawyers.

The latest brilliant plan to get people back to work seems to focus on… wait for it… punishing potential employers by dragging them into court on a whole new class of discrimination based lawsuits. The idea, spearheaded by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and a handful of other Democrats, would identify employers who run advertisements which specifically seek to avoid hiring people who are currently unemployed and allow them to be taken to court on some form of discrimination charge.

Lawyers should be allowed to win financial damages from companies that refuse to hire unemployed people, according to a coalition of Democratic legislators, progressive advocates and entrepreneurial trial lawyers.

The existence of even a few advertisements excluding unemployed applicants in the national marketplace justifies a federal law creating a novel market for legal skills, say the advocates.

“We don’t know for sure how extensive it is … [but] if it is on one [job advertisement] website, that’s too extensive for me,” the bill’s chief backer, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, told the TheDC.

Apparently they have dug up approximately 150 advertisements from across the entire country which include something about unemployed candidates not needing to apply. What this really calls for is some sort of stupidity award for the HR departments at those firms because they’re just asking for trouble. Even if that’s really your intention, it’s easy enough to determine somebody’s employment status from the resume they submit and simply not offer an interview to the unemployed if that’s your preference.

What we don’t need is yet another excuse to go dragging employers into court, driving up their legal costs and, thereby, reducing the resources they have available to hire anyone. While I certainly sympathize with the instinct to see such hiring policies as unfair, (and stupid, frankly) the knee-jerk reaction shouldn’t be to set up a system to create an ever increasing death spiral of lawsuits clogging up the courts. If we improve conditions on the ground for employers to confidently bring on more workers, the available pool of labor shrinks and companies will need to compete for the best talent. It’s really not all that complicated.

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