Still, many employers refuse to even consider you for unemployment unless you have a current job. You’d think in a climate with huge unemployment rates hovering around 10% that employers would realize they’re eliminating a large segment of qualified candidates, but HR is slow to change its practices, even in a recession.
The good news is that the Fair Employment Act, pending in Congress, would prohibit this type of discrimination. New York also has pending proposed legislation to ban unemployment discrimination. I predict that more states will follow. With states trying to cut the number of people collecting unemployment, it makes pure fiscal sense to ban this type of discrimination.
a. If you see an ad that says you must be employed to be considered, but you think you’re qualified, apply anyhow. If you’re turned down for a less qualified candidate, then find out if that person is of a different race, age, sex, national origin, etc. If so, you might have a discrimination claim.
b. Some people are forming their own companies while unemployed to do consulting or other contract work. That way, you can say you’re employed by your company. The downside is that this might affect your ability to collect unemployment benefits, so check with your state unemployment office about this.