Quick Takes: Assembly Bill 1450


Vagueness of Assembly Bill Caused it to be Rightly Vetoed

Employers will continue to have the option of requiring applicants to already be employed, thanks to a bill vetoed on Sept. 30 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Michael Allen, the man behind the law, admitted to losing faith after the bill was dragged through the legislative process and deprived of its original intentions. While the bill was intended to focus on creating fairness and equality during the application process, the end result concentrated too heavily on advertisements and was rightly vetoed.

Brown saw several gaps in the potential law, one being the lack of specifics regarding pooling applicants and what employers could and could not do during the application process. Proposing a bill that only addresses the line “unemployed need not apply” in employment ads while neglecting to address the line’s effects on the actual application process is unfair to the applicant pool.

A weak proposal is not the solution. Applicants need to be protected from discrimination with a bill highlighting fairness in the employer and applicant system, not with misdirection focusing on the ads themselves. Additionally, many employers find value in seeking applicants who are already employed. This screening process allows for people with a higher level of experience with useful skills to be spotlighted, regardless of their previous employment status.

By vetoing the bill, Brown is not dismissing the importance of addressing equality in the workforce, but rather ensuring that dealing with such a problem should require complete commitment from the lawmakers to concentrate on a solid solution. After being dismantled during the legislative process, the watered-down result was an inadequate bill that simply could not do what is was originally intended for.

— Matthew Rosin
Contributing Writer

Passage Would Have Encouraged Fairer Application Process

Gov. Jerry Brown struck down a bill that would have made it illegal for California employers to discriminate against the unemployed during the hiring process. The bill should have been passed in light of the current job market, where qualified individuals are experiencing difficulty finding work. By discriminating against the unemployed, employers are missing the chance to work with potentially capable and competent employees and are limiting their companies’ competitive edge by not allowing for a larger job pool.

The bill would have made the practice of stating “unemployed need not apply” on job listings illegal. Although the bill doesn’t explicitly forbid employers from considering employment status during the interview, it does exist to combat a growing stigma regarding the unemployed.

In the December 2011 study “The Psychological Stigma of Unemployment: When Joblessness Leads to Being Jobless,” researchers at the UCLA Anderson School of Management found that the longer one is unemployed, the less likely one will be hired. The unemployed often find themselves in this state because of economic circumstances out of their control — unemployment does not necessarily mean that applicants are unskilled or lazy, as many employers would assume. A position should be filled based on the qualifications, skills and abilities the worker can bring to the company and not on extraneous factors.

Oregon and New Jersey are the only states thus far that have passed legislation prohibiting companies from such discriminatory action. California should have joined these two states in leading the nation in a much-needed step to ending discrimination against employment status. Discrimination is wrong in all forms — the bill is necessary in creating a fair and competitive work force in California.

— Alia Bales
Contributing Writer

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