Rep. Gohmert Ridicules Effort To Protect The Unemployed From Hiring Discrimination

September 14, 2011 9:58 am ET — Alan Pyke

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Included in the American Jobs Act put forth by President Obama is a provision to protect the unemployed from discrimination in hiring practices, which makes sense given the rash of reporting this summer on companies seeking to weed out unemployed applicants during the worst jobless crisis in decades. Job creators are discriminating against potentially qualified Americans just because they're currently out of work, and the government's trying to put a stop to that so fewer people will remain out of work. Simple.

But to hear Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tell it, this is a gift from the Democratic Party to trial lawyers, designed to create lawsuits, not reduce unemployment. Here's how he put it on Sean Hannity's radio show yesterday afternoon:

GOHMERT: And I know you've been worried about plaintiffs' attorneys, because, you know, some places it's been a little tough. We have created in this bill a newly protected class, not on race, creed, color, sex — not even sexual orientation, this is a new one. It's not religion, it's a prohibition of discrimination in employment on the basis of an individual's status as unemployed. By golly, if you apply for a job and you're unemployed and you feel like you got discriminated against and not hired because you were unemployed, see a lawyer. You've got a claim under this bill.


Gohmert gave a more free-wheeling version of that analysis on the House floor yesterday as well, so this wasn't some off-the-cuff line. Gohmert's read the American Jobs Act, and would rather attack the bill's attempt to protect the unemployed from becoming a permanent underclass than talk about the bill's quarter-trillion dollars in tax relief or the rapidly converging evidence that the AJA will be more effective at spurring job growth than the GOP's policies.