"Refusing to hire people on the basis of race, religion, age or disability - among other categories - is illegal. But companies that turn away jobless people, as a group, are generally not breaking the law - at least for now."
"Excluding the unemployed...is becoming business as usual," Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, testified at an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hearing.
Federal civil rights laws don't protect the unemployed as a class, and ending such discrimination would most likely require new laws. One congressman has introduced the Fair Employment Act of 2011 to combat the controversial practice.