Fair Employment Opportunity Act and New NLRA Posting Rule

There have been a couple of interesting developments this week in labor and employment law.  First, some may recall that I posted earlier this summer about the employment practice of refusing to consider the unemployed for open positions.  I mentioned at the time that a bill had been introduced, the Fair Employment Act of 2011 (H.R. 1113), that would amend Title VII to add “unemployment status” to the list of protected classes.  Employment Law Matters reports that the effort to pass such a law continues:

[A] bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in June that will make it illegal for employers and employment agencies to screen out unemployed job seekers. On August 2, the Senate followed suit with an as-yet unpublished bill with the same purpose. The proposed legislation has been named the “Fair Employment Opportunity Act” and prohibits consideration of an individual’s status as “unemployed” in screening for or filling positions.

The Act would make it illegal for an employer to: (1) refuse to consider for employment or refuse to offer employment to an individual because of the individual’s status as unemployed; (2) publish in print, on the Internet, or in any other medium, an advertisement or announcement for any job that includes any provision stating or indicating that an individual’s status as unemployed disqualifies the individual for a job (“must be currently employed”) and (3) direct or request that an employment agency take an individual’s status as unemployed into account in screening or referring applicants for employment.

Employment Law Matters goes on to note a strange exception written into the bill:

[A]n exception to the prohibitions of the Act is established if an employer can show that an individual’s employment in a similar job, during a time proximate to the hiring, is necessary to successful performance of the job for which the person is being hired. Without additional parameters, that exception could be applied to nearly every job, where it is almost always advantageous (“reasonably necessary to successful performance in the job”?) to have proximate experience in the field prior to starting a new job.

In other news, the NLRA is now like other labor and employment statutes that require notice postings in the workplace.  The NLRB has issued a final rule on the subject and a press release.

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a Final Rule that will require employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act as of November 14, 2011.

There is also a fact sheet that indicates that the Board will provide copies of the notice on request at no cost to the employer beginning on or before November 1, 2011.  It will also be available for download on the Board’s website.

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