A memo issued by the White House urged that U.S. government agencies should not discriminate against job applicants who are unemployed or facing financial difficulties.

As the country’s largest employer, the Obama administration believes the federal government should set an example when it comes to its hiring practices — showing that being laid off or being unable to pay your bills shouldn’t mean you aren’t qualified for a job.

“The Federal Government is America’s largest employer. While seeking to employ a talented and productive workforce, it has a responsibility to lead by example,” according to a memo issued by the administration this year.

The memo clarifies that agencies should not make an “unfavorable determination with respect to the suitability, fitness, or qualifications” of an applicant to a federal government job if that person was unemployed or “has experienced or is experiencing financial difficulty.”

The order also applies to current federal workers.

They shall not be removed, suspended, or demoted if they had experienced or are experiencing financial issues “through no fault of the employee” and are taking corrective steps to rectify it.

The administration also ordered agencies to review their hiring practices to make sure applicants are not being passed over because of these factors.

“The Government must continue to take steps to ensure the fair treatment of applicants, as well as incumbent Federal employees, who face financial difficulties through no fault of their own and make good faith efforts to meet those obligations,” the memo stated.

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