No, we will not “cease and desist” telling people about hiring discrimination against the unemployed.

Ross Wallen August 12, 2011 1

Two weeks ago, we launched a campaign to end hiring discrimination against unemployed Americans.

Specifically, our online petition campaign aimed at companies that refuse to consider hiring unemployed workers, a perverse form of discrimination in today’s economy.

So far, more than 26,000 Americans have signed our petition.

But someone – or perhaps in this era of “corporatehood vs. personhood” I should say some thing – wants us to go away.

That would be monster.com.

You see, when we launched our campaign, one of the steps we took was to ask the executives at monster.com and careerbuilder.com to stop posting help-wanted ads that expressly deny employment to the unemployed – simply because they are not working.

A recent study by the National Employment Law Project found that employers of all sizes as well as staffing agencies are using recruitment and hiring policies that expressly deny employment to the unemployed. The NELP study identified more than 150 ads that openly discriminate based on employment status. NELP examined ads posted on careerbuilder.com, monster.com and two other online job posting firms. It found that the overwhelming majority of the discriminatory ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.”

We complained.

Along with our petition drive, we launched a modest Facebook ad campaign, asking careerbuilder.com and monster.com to stop the discrimination.

Monster.com complained back.

They sent us a “cease and desist” letter, demanding that we stop mentioning them in our campaign. The point they were trying to make, I think, is that although they may, from time to time, post ads that are discriminatory, they don’t themselves discriminate in their hiring practices, and they counsel employers against discrimination.

Their first point strikes me as a claim without a moral distinction. If they don’t discriminate in their hiring practices, good for them. But they do accept money to post ads from other companies that discriminate.

Their second point – that they counsel employers against discrimination – came to light after they were called out in an investigative piece in The New York Times. Their response.

USAction will not “cease and desist” telling the world about hiring discrimination against the unemployed, about companies that engage in this practice, and about online job posting firms that enable it.

And that includes Monster.com

David Elliot
Communications Director
USAction