Beverly Bowne, who lives in the Bronx, worked for 28 years as a billing coordinator for a printing company in New York City. And then in 2009, she and a number of other employees at the company — including her own supervisor — were laid off.
Bowne’s employer was hard hit by the recession. The company, like so many in the printing industry, is shriveling fast as internet communication replaces the need for printed materials.
For Bowne, the lay off was devastating. “I fell apart completely,” she said. “You have to go through the grieving process.” Bowne has spent the last two and a half years looking for work, sending out hundreds of resumes. Often, she gets the cold shoulder from prospective employers reacting to her grey hair and her age (she’ll be 60 next month.)
Now, she’s begun to see a new kind of snub — job ads on Careerbuilder.com from companies saying that applicants must already be employed in order to apply for the job. Bowne calls the ads “outright discrimination,” adding that these ads “remind me of the ‘Irish need not apply’ ads of our earlier history.”
Bowne isn’t the only one infuriated by the ads. The progressive activist orgranization USAction has now launched an on-line petition campaign to stop what they are calling an “outrageous” form of job discrimination.
“It’s outrageous enough that 14 million Americans are out of work. But discriminating against jobless people who just want to feed their families and stay in their homes? Employers should not penalize applicants for a job status that they cannot control, especially when prohibiting the unemployed from applying only compounds the issue.”
To say American’s are job-hungry is an understatement. So many Americans are downright desperate. To those folks, some of whom were comfortably employed at the top of their fields before they got bounced, the idea that you can’t apply for a job unless you have one may sound a bit Kafka-esque. Or downright cruel.
But to companies advertising in places like Careerbuilder, Craigslist and Monster.com, there is a certain evil logic. These days, it is clearly an employer’s job market.
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