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'Monster' of a Problem for 71,000 Idahoans Looking for Work

September 6, 2011

BOISE, Idaho - If you don't have a job, you can't get a job.

An online job-search site is the target of a petition drive aimed at stopping what supporters call discrimination against the unemployed.

Organizers hope to get Monster.com and similar job-listing sites to stop allowing companies to advertise jobs which prohibit those without jobs from applying - a disqualification that hits more than 71,000 Idahoans looking for work..

Kentucky's latest unemployment figures show 9.5 percent are out of work - slightly above the national average.

Kelly Wiedemer of Westminster, Colo., the author of the petition which already has nearly 90,000 signatures, says these types of ads put unemployed workers such as her in a bind.

"It's a horrible, horrible situation and everybody, really, they don't want any form of welfare, with unemployment. We want to work."

At Monster.com, which has not banned the practice, a spokesman responds, "Discrimination based on employment status falls into a legal gray area," adding that it is "unwise."

Wiedemer says the practice of discrimination against the unemployed negates everything a worker has accomplished over a lifetime.

"Without saying so, they said that my education, my experience and my background have no value whatsoever."

New Jersey already has a law banning job ads that prohibit jobless workers from applying, and New York and Michigan are considering it. A measure to outlaw the practice has also been introduced in Congress.

Wiedemer says she hopes to collect 200,000 signatures in her drive to get sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder to stop taking ads she says discriminate against people without jobs.

The petition drive is online at change.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID