NSBA Opposes Bill Allowing Unemployed to Sue

January 10, 2012

NSBA President Todd McCracken recently weighed in with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) in opposition to the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 and other, similar proposals. There are several current proposals to make discrimination against individuals based on their status as unemployed unlawful. Proposed legislation includes three bills that would enact the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, (S. 1471, H.R. 2501, H.R. 1113) and subtitle D of the proposed American Jobs Act of 2011 released by the White House on Sept. 12, 2011. In the statement, McCracken argued that enacting these proposals would be a serious mistake.

There is no credible evidence that small businesses discriminate against the unemployed. Doing so would deprive an employer of many good potential hires. What the bill would do, however, is enrich trial lawyers at the expense of small businesses and lead to a new wave of litigation. Litigation is expensive and wasteful and will harm the ability of small firms to hire new workers.

These proposals would exacerbate the problems faced by the unemployed, slow economic growth and cause unemployment, rather than reduce it. First and foremost, they would harm the very employers that would employ the unemployed and reduce the resources they have available to grow their businesses and hire people. The proposals would have a disproportionate adverse impact on small businesses. Each decision to interview an unemployed person would be fraught with legal risk. Business would need to expend resources to familiarize themselves with yet another regulation of their hiring practices and, eventually, the case law that develops around the new statute. They would have to expend funds retaining counsel and drafting new human resources directives, as well as expend funds training their managers.

Click here to read the NSBA statement.