There’s an old saying: the best way to get a job is to have a job.
Not if Alderman Ameya Pawar has his way.
Pawar wants to update the Chicago Human Framework to prevent companies from redlining applicants because they’re unemployed, or have bad credit.
“Employers have been discriminating against job applicants on the basis of credit history and employment status, and as a result, deny qualified applicants jobs,” Pawar said. “Even with the overwhelming data showing there is no connection between job performance and credit history, employers are consistently weeding out applicants based on credit histories. Every job seeker deserves a fair shake. This kind of discrimination has profound impacts on: seniors, single income households, immigrants and refugees, parents re-entering the workforce and veterans.”
According to the labor union UNITE HERE, credit check screening places “many job seekers in the country are in a Catch-22: they’re behind on their bills because they don’t have a job, but they can’t get a job because they’re behind on their bills.”
Pawar’s ordinance would allow the city’s Human Relations Commission to take action against companies that discriminate against the unemployed, and will specifically add “employment status (as to unemployment)” to the Chicago Human Rights Framework. It will also prohibit employers from including the phrase “Unemployed need not apply” in Help Wanted ads. (Employers would still be allowed to inquire about employment gaps.)
The City Council’s Committee on Human Relations will hold a hearing on Pawar’s ordinance Thursday at 10 a.m., in Room 201A of City Hall.