Un-employment discrimination?

by Vault Law Editors | September 25, 2009

  • My Vault

If the unprecedented scale of layoffs and cut-backs in the last year have reduced the stigma of being jobless, they haven’t entirely eliminated it—as is clear from a recent “no offer” thread on AbovetheLaw. In response to advice that summer associates get over their sense of entitlement to an offer of post-graduation employment, many of the ATL commentariat suggested they wouldn’t be so upset over not getting an offer if employers didn’t consider the absence of an offer “a stigma of shame and ineptitude”. As one reader noted, “Once law firms and other future employers stop looking at a ‘no-offer’ like some kind of scarlet letter this won't be an issue.”

It’s the Catch-22 of the unemployed: anxiety not just over the temporary lack of work but fear that your current jobless state will prevent you from ever getting a job.

This scenario recently played out in the UK in a rather ugly way. According to RollOnFriday, a legal recruiting firm suffered from “acute embarrassment” after a consultant told a candidate that he couldn’t be considered for a position at Vault Top-10 UK firm Norton Rose because he had been laid off by another firm. The job spec sent to the candidate reportedly “had ‘Do not want redundant lawyers’ written smack in the middle of it.” However, Norton Rose “categorically” denied that it imposes such a restriction, while “a spokeswoman for the consultancy said that the consultant had made a mistake as ‘he was in a hurry’.” The consensus among readers on the RoF site seems to be that the consultant was “taking the fall for the firm” and his only “mistake” was to put the firm’s request  in writing.

In either case—whether the ban reflected the firm’s demands or was an incorrect assumption on the part of the recruiter—the real concern is, as RoF notes, “whether it is an indication of more widespread discrimination against those who have been made redundant.”

- posted by vera

Filed Under: Law

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