Archive for June 28, 2010

A New Way to Discriminate: Latest Trends in Employment Ads and its Effects on Black Americans

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Yes, this is controversial and since this particular manner of advertising for vacancies is an emerging trend I won’t deny this post may not be totally accurate. Recently, another blog posted an article from CNN Money concerning those who are unemployed aren’t desired as potential candidates for a particular vacancy. Here’s the original article: Out-of-work job applicants told unemployed need not apply – Jun. 16, 2010. Yahoo decided to further expand on the issue here:

2010 Unemployment Extension Jobless Woes: Unemployed Need Not Apply – Associated Content – associatedcontent.com The first portion which seems to draw fire to the hiring practice is:

“It may seem as discriminatory as “Blacks Need Not Apply” or “Women Need Not Apply” or “Irish Need Not Apply”” — and it is, but in a more general and less inflammatory sense — but it is commonly used, blatantly printed in online and newsprint ads and classified sections. Instead of discriminating via age, gender, race, or ethnicity, businesses discriminate on whether or not you’re currently employed.” [emphasis mine] Hmm, you don’t say? First, let’s disband comparing Irish to Blacks. Although Irish had difficulty when first arriving to the U.S. years and years ago, they were eventually “Anglos-ized” into the broader “white” category as with other Americans who were descendants from other European countries. This was, is not and will never be the case for Blacks.  The other interesting part is where the author states: “more general and less inflammatory.” However, the author makes it appears that using the filter “Unemployed Need Not Apply” is better than saying outright “Blacks Need Not Apply” or rather those old Jim Crow signs “No n******, no jews, no dogs” though it has the same economic impact.  Since the highest percentage of the unemployed in the U.S. are Black Americans, with an overall unemployment rate remaining steady at 25% towering above the national average with no apparent signs of decreasing.  You’re right it is not as inflammatory, just more insidious.

Although some in the employment sector argue that these employers crafted these vacancies because of suspicion of performance issues, I think many of us in the legal industry would like to have more information. Since most attorneys work contractually (general counsel, staff attorney, direct hire, contract attorneys) and many positions are at will or short term, this line of reasoning doesn’t seem to be applicable for these types of cases.

Anyway, we all know that discrimination which has a disparate impact on a suspect class is subject to strict scrutiny. One is unable to argue that the applicant was not qualified because his or her application/resume would not even be considered for review because the applicant is already unemployed.

I am not dismissing the fact that some whites and others have been affected by the economy especially unemployment but what I am referring to are those who are the most affected are also a minority and thus a ‘suspect class’ (p.s. have you ever wondered why “suspect” was the designated term, just saying).

So, now we have the highest percentage of unemployed in America who are black, who will be unable to qualify for jobs, not because of lack of experience, job skills, or education but because they are unemployed. Between the employment practices in the current economy and the current Congressional stalemate  regarding unemployment compensation it is becoming apparent that Blacks are put in the game of “can’t win for losing.”

The practice contributes to the jobless rate that the U. S. Department of Labor places at 9.7% of the workforce (although some estimate that the number is closer to 22%). The estimate is that 15 million Americans are unemployed, most due to no fault of their own. Many have exhausted their benefits, their life’s savings, taken part-time and lesser paying jobs to help make ends meet. [emphasis mine] Yet, they are punished for actually wanting to get back on their feet, wanting to live as a decent man and woman by working and earning a quality living; yet are thrown in the perpetual cycle in which the onlookers gawk and “blame” them for taking handouts, though what they did receive in benefits does not cover most of the basic necessities…

As the jobless find their income options becoming increasingly limited, such as those hoping for Congress to pass the 2010 Unemployment Extension Bill, they also see that job openings are being filled by passive job seekers, the term recruiting companies use to label those already employed looking for a job. The jobless are being actively marginalized by the job market itself. So this country has given up on those who desire work and recycles those in one job into another, increasing the lack of skills of the former as well as unemployment gap on their resume while the already employed continue to gain more and more experience and continue to be favored while the former is unable to get the job experience in the first place because jobs won’t hire him or her for being employed in the first place. We call this a country of democratic ideals.

For the millions of unemployed attempting to find a job, the business practice of not hiring the jobless may only reinforce what they had already suspected. Not being able to find a job leads to its own special mental state of paranoia and seeming besiegement by forces beyond one’s control. Regardless, the news cannot be anything but discouraging…Many of the unemployed, who found themselves in that state due to no fault of their own, are finding that they are remaining in a jobless state through no fault of their own. It is a number that, in accordance with the “growing trend” to openly and secretly discriminate against the unemployed, may not see much of a decrease for some time. In other words, it’s not fair, it’s not likely to change as the private sector pretty much runs the country. At least we can realistically prepare–for the worse.

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Another Field Looking to Exploit Desperate, New Law Graduates

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An interesting article, amidst the shrinking legal market, financial firms believe their business will increase by offering similar services to law firms: Look to law grads for recruits, June 24, 2010 

IFAs should look to law graduates as a source of new recruits, according to Sifa. Speaking on board PIMS last week, Sifa development director David Seager said there are few jobs at present for law graduates and financial services firms should look at recruiting them into the IFA profession. Wait, you want to get businesses to hire law graduates who took upon themselves $100,000+ in non-dischargeable debt to fill positions of financial advisors

He said: “There are a lot of people studying law but there are very few jobs. We always have this debate in financial services about where the new blood will come from. Firms should start looking at law graduates.” [emphasis mine] O.k., let’s clarify, yes many students study law, common law, theories, unrealistic hypotheticals which garner no practical legal skills. Unless that law graduate has an MBA or you’re willing to train them on finance, you may be making an investment in these law graduates with the same risk the law graduates made with attending law school. That one business law class will not help them “hit the ground running” at your company. 

Seager said it is estimated that 3,000 out of 8,900 law firms in England and Wales will go out of business by 2012 due to the rise of transactional legal services offerings from big companies such as Tesco. Wow, I can only imagine the number of solo practicioners and mid-size firms that the economy will devour in the United States, especially with top firms laying off staff and associates. 

He said the introduction of Tesco legal services will appeal to a number of consumers because they already have a client relationship with Tesco. He said that clients will be able to get the same transaction from Tesco for half the price offered by some law firms, so solicitors need to focus on building their client relationships to survive. I see, Tesco and other similar business firms would like to absorb the unemployed attorneys, increase their business production, increase their competition with law firms with the hopes of obliterating the legal industry. Makes sense. 

Seager said that IFAs can help solicitor firms to do this by moving away from a purely transactional business model. He said: “There is going to be huge consolidation in the legal sector and IFAs should be looking to make the most of that. I wouldn’t say consolidation, moreso an industry takeover. 

“IFAs are in a good position to partner up with solicitors and offer consultancy on how to change their business model so they retain more clients.”   Seager said that solicitors have 20 per cent client retention on average. 

People are either waiting for or trying to take advantage of the collapsing legal industry, but that’s the point—it is collapsing. Save yourself.