New York City passes law prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed

applauded the pending passage of Intro 814-A, legislation that will prohibit employers from using a person’s employment status in a hiring decision and from posting job advertisements that require applicants to be currently employed. Specifically, the bill will make it illegal under the human rights law for an employer to base a hiring decision on an applicant’s unemployment without a substantially job-related reason for doing so. Unlike race, which an employer can never consider, there are circumstances where an employer could reasonably consider an applicant’s unemployment. This bill acknowledges that fact by explicitly permitting employers to consider unemployment in certain cases. Once the bill is enacted, an individual who believes he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against will be able to take action in court or make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. The Commission will have the authority to order the employer to stop discriminatory practices, require discriminated applicants be hired and subject the employer to penalties if they fail to comply with the Commission’s orders. Speaker Quinn stated, “Imagine spending every day and night for months upon months upon months looking for a job – only to be told ‘don’t even bother… unemployed need not apply.’ We cannot – and will not – allow New Yorkers who are qualified and ready to work have the door of opportunity slammed in their faces.” At 9.4% in 2012, New York City’s unemployment rate far exceeds both the national average (7.8% in December) and the New York State average (8.8% in 2012). More than half (51%) of unemployed New Yorkers were actively seeking work for more than six months and nearly a third (29%) were still actively looking for work after searching for more than a year.]]>

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