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Modern-day employers are not only confronted with the challenges of adapting their policies and practices for their workforce to conform with the ever-changing landscape of employment law, but are now grappling with new potential landmines arising from the hiring process. This article will highlight in broad strokes certain "new rules" that modern-day employers face in their hiring practices, ranging from issues that they may face in the job advertisement and application process, to multiple traps to be aware of leading up to a candidate's first day of employment.
Most employers generally know not to include job criteria that would exclude certain groups of candidates in violation of federal, state or local laws. However, while the majority of employers are likely aware of the more traditional protected characteristics, such as race, sex, national origin, religion and disability, some employers may be surprised to find that some states and localities have enacted protections for additional nontraditional groups, such as the unemployed. By way of illustration, New York City recently amended its administrative code to extend discrimination protection to the unemployed. The amendment, which will take effect today, prohibits employers from advertising for a job vacancy by listing as a requirement or qualification that the candidate is currently employed or stating that the employer will not consider individuals based on their unemployment. Some states, including Oregon and New Jersey, as well as the District of Columbia, have also enacted similar laws extending protection to the unemployed.