Workers Comp Zone


Governor Brown has vetoed AB 2271 (D-Ian Calderon).

That’s unfortunate, because unemployed people need all the help they can get.

Some unemployed persons find themselves at a disadvantage in the interviewing and hiring process if they aren’t employed. In some instances employers are mostly, or even exclusively interested, in looking at workers who have a job but are looking to change jobs or trade up.

This is an important issue for injured workers, many of whom find themselves with gaps on their resume as they try to reenter the labor force.

AB 2271 was aimed at helping those folks.

According to the Legislative Counsel’s digest on AB 2271:
Existing law contains provisions that define unlawful discrimination and employment practices by employers and employment agencies.
This bill would, beginning July 1, 2015, make it unlawful, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification for an employer, an employment agency, or a person who operates an Internet Web site for posting jobs in this state to publish an advertisement or announcement for any job that includes an indication that current employment is a requirement, as specified.
This bill would subject an employer, an employment agency, or a person who operates an Internet Web site for posting jobs in this state who violates the above provisions to civil penalties that increase as the number of violations increase. This bill would also provide that no private right of action is authorized for a violation of these provisions.
AB 2271 had passed the California Senate on a 24 to 9 vote and the California Assembly on a 55 to 21 vote, both largely along party lines. Supporters had included the California Consumer Attorneys, the California Employment Lawyers Association,  and the California Labor Federation
Here is the argument in support by the bill’s author, Ian Calderon.

     “Research shows that the long-term unemployed are frequently overlooked and sometimes excluded from job opportunities. Employers and employment agencies have posted job vacancy notifications with language such as “No unemployed candidates considered at all” or “Only currently employed candidates will be considered.”

The National Employment Law Project [(NELP)] has found that the “falling unemployment rate and improving economic conditions are not translating into adequate job opportunities for millions of long-term unemployed job seekers.” A study found that long-term unemployed workers with otherwise identical resumes were called back for interviews at rates 45% lower than the short-term unemployed.

Also, employers are disinclined to hire even well-qualified job applicants whohavebeenoutofworkforsixmonthsorlonger. Three Princeton economists found that only 11% of those unemployed for more than 6 months will ever regain steady full-time work.

California Statistics: 40.5% of the unemployed in CA have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. 214,800 people in California lost their unemployment benefits on December 28, 2013 when the federal unemployment benefits lapsed and 836,100 will lose access to benefits through 2014.

AB 2271 will make sure that the unemployed are not unfairly discriminated against and provide opportunities for unemployed Californians to at least get their foot in the door and prove to employers they are qualified and a good candidate for the job.page7image15552 page7image15712 page7image15872

AB 2271 would prevent employers, including state and local agencies, or employment agencies from affirmatively asking an applicant for employment to disclose information concerning employment status until the employer or employment agency has determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the position. “
But Governor Brown has vetoed the bill. It’s likely the the bill was killed at the behest of back room business interests.
Brown’s veto message gives lip service to the problems of the unemployed. But like so many things Brown’s administration does, the plight of real workers with real life struggles seems to get ignored.
This is a theme that plays out in workers’ comp and worker health and safety issues.
Brown’s veto message is especially lame.
He complains that the bill “could impede the state’s efforts to connect unemployed workers to prospective employers s currently drafted” and that the bill “does not present the proper path to address this problem.”
Looks like the burden of not having a job while job-seeking will still weigh on many of California’s unemployed.
Stay tuned.
Here is a link to the bill’s text:

Julius Young
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