For now, yes they can; but there are proposals in both the U.S. Congress and Connecticut’s General Assembly to ban discrimination against the unemployed in posting help wanted ads. Senator Blumenthal and Rep. DeLauro have introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress that would prohibit ads stating that the unemployed need not apply. Click here to read more.
Gov. Dannel Malloy has also called upon the General Assembly to pass such a bill. Read more here.
It seems that these laws are narrowly designed to apply only to job postings, not to hiring decisions the way other non-discrimination laws do. For example, you can sue if you believe that you were not hired because of your race, but even if these bills pass, you will not be able to sue because you believe you were not hired because you are unemployed.
This is a step forward for those who have lost their jobs and have been unable to find a new job. It’s not fair to leave these workers out of the running for the jobs they need!