Two troubling trends in employment are facing our City. First, employers are denying job-seekers the ability to apply for jobs if they
are currently not employed. This is explicitly stated in job postings – ‘unemployed need not apply.’ Second, employers are using an individual’s credit history to deny qualified applicants jobs. While there may be some very specific positions where a credit history is relevant, the economy has changed drastically in the last 3 years and credit problems are sure to impact many when over 11% of our City is unemployed and over 40% of the unemployed in Illinois have been without work for at least 27 weeks. Unless we act now, we
are allowing a group of people to become permanently unemployable. This is discrimination and can have profound impacts on populations that are already struggling in our workforce.

There are a number of people that are now required to enter/re-enter the workforce for a multitude of reasons, including but not
limited to:

  • Individuals (in many cases seniors) who have lost their retirement benefits or had their benefits reduced
  • Single-income households that now require a second income
  • Immigrants and refugees
  • New graduates
  • Women  and men re-entering the workforce after staying home to raise children
  • Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

In response to this, I am introducing an amendment to the Human Rights ordinance in the Chicago Municipal Code. If passed the amended ordinance will include the underlined language:

No person shall directly or indirectly discriminate against any individual in hiring, classification, grading, discharge, discipline, compensation or other term or condition of employment because of the individual’s race, color, sex, gender identity, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, credit history, gap in employment history or source of income. No employment agency shall directly or indirectly discriminate against any individual in classification, processing, referral or recommendation for employment because of the individual’s race, color, sex, gender identity, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, credit history, gap in employment history or source of income.
Additionally, the following language was added:

2-160-065 Unlawful discrimination in job vacancy advertisements

No person shall publish or cause to be published, in print or on the Internet, an advertisement for, or other posting of, any job vacancy that requires the applicant for the vacant position to be employed.

This ordinance was referred to the Human Relations Committee. Forty aldermen joined me and signed this ordinance.  I know there are issues that need to be further fleshed out – I will be working with my colleagues to get this ordinance passed.

Proposed Amended Human Rights Ordinance