WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has not been particularly successful in fostering the creation of jobs. But he thinks he has found a way to pry open doors in the workplace for many of the unemployed, especially those who have been out of work for a long time.
Obama's jobs bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants because they are unemployed.
Under the proposal, it would be "an unlawful employment practice" if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person "because of the individual's status as unemployed."
Unsuccessful job applicants could sue and recover damages for violations, just as when an employer discriminates on the basis of a person's race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Obama's proposal would also prohibit employment agencies and websites from carrying advertisements for job openings that exclude people who are unemployed.
Republicans and some employers criticized the White House proposal. They said discrimination was not common.
"We do not see a need for it," said Michael J. Eastman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Labor Department reports that 14 million people are unemployed. About 43 percent of them — 6 million people — are classified as long-term unemployed, having been out of work for 27 weeks or more.
Heckler thrown out at Obama appearance
LOS ANGELES — A heckler shouting about Jesus Christ interrupted President Obama at a fundraiser before security dragged him out.
It happened Monday night at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. The man positioned himself up in front of the stage and started shouting loudly right after Obama started. Obama stopped talking. Then after a moment the crowd started chanting "Four more years! Four more years!" and drowned out the heckler.
On the campaign trail
Iowa: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann dismissed concerns about the strength of her campaign and told supporters that she alone has the best conservative credentials to be president. "I've got the complete skill set to do this job," she told roughly 35 people in a half-full hotel ballroom in Cedar Rapids on a rainy day.
Texas: Gov. Rick Perry on Monday asked President Obama to use his executive authority to prevent or delay implementation of stricter pollution standards, saying they will have an "immediate and devastating" effect on the state.