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Unemployment discrimination: Research exposes illegal practices in recruitment processes


Unemployment discrimination: Research exposes illegal practices in recruitment processes
Unemployment discrimination: Research exposes illegal practices in recruitment processes

Excluding unemployed individuals from recruitment processes is not only morally questionable but also illegal. Research conducted by Antonio Fernández García, a member of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), sheds light on this concerning practice and emphasizes the urgent need to end it. Despite the substantial number of unemployed individuals in Spain, with over 2.9 million recorded at the beginning of 2024, many face discrimination simply because of their employment status.


Fernández's research reveals that unemployed candidates are often unfairly dismissed from job opportunities, especially if they have been out of work for an extended period, perpetuating harmful stereotypes about their ability to contribute effectively in the workplace. This discriminatory practice extends to recruitment software and artificial intelligence systems used by companies and employment portals, exacerbating the issue.


Highlighting the infringement on individuals' dignity, Fernández delved into Spanish legislation to underscore the illegality of excluding unemployed individuals from recruitment processes. Despite the lack of case law on this matter, Fernández's thorough examination of Spanish laws, including Law 15/2022 for equal treatment and non-discrimination, demonstrates that such practices contravene constitutional and legal principles, particularly those prohibiting discrimination on socio-economic grounds.


Furthermore, Fernández emphasizes the broader societal implications of such discrimination, noting that it disproportionately affects marginalized groups, including women, people with disabilities, older and younger individuals, migrants, and transgender individuals. This discrimination not only perpetuates socio-economic disparities but also undermines efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce.


From a practical standpoint, Fernández argues that excluding unemployed individuals from recruitment processes contradicts efforts to promote employability and economic inclusion. He advocates for legislative measures explicitly prohibiting such discrimination and urges employment services, companies, institutions, and unions to review their practices to ensure fairness and equal opportunities for all job seekers. By addressing this systemic issue, Spain can move closer to realizing its goals of fostering a more equitable and inclusive labor market.



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