The unemployed — a protected category coming to a jurisdiction near you

By Philip Wang

It is now illegal in New York City for employers to discriminate against job applicants based on their employment status. This June 2013 amendment to New York City’s Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) — a law already relished by plaintiffs’ attorneys for its extraordinarily broad definition of discrimination — defines ‘unemployment’ as ‘not having a job, being available for work and seeking employment’.

This is the first law defining unemployment status as a protected class along with the more familiar litany of protected classes: age, race, creed, colour, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation and alienage/citizenship status. It is definitely not the last. There are more than two dozen pending proposals for amendments to federal, state and local laws in order to ban discrimination against the unemployed.

Other jurisdictions have joined this seismic shift but along more narrow lines. For example, the states of New Jersey and Oregon as well as the City of Chicago have banned job advertisements stating that the unemployed need not apply. And the District of Columbia has made it unlawful for all employers and employment agencies in the district to consider the unemployed status of an applicant in employment and hiring decisions; that law also bars employers and employment agencies from indicating in an advertisement for a job vacancy that unemployed individuals are disqualified for the position…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the DLA Piper briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from DLA Piper

View more briefings from DLA Piper

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


3 Noble Street

Turnover (£m): 1,566.29
No. of lawyers: 3,961 (UK 200)
Jurisdiction: global
No. of offices: more than 75
No. of qualified lawyers: 542 (International 50)
No. of partners: 142.6