New York City Enacts Legislation Prohibiting Discrimination Based On Unemployment

This week New York City lawmakers enacted (over a mayoral veto) a law prohibiting discrimination against out-of-work job seekers.  (Click here for similar proposed, but un-enacted, federal legislation.)

Click here for the legislation’s text and history and here for a press release discussing it.  The law will take effect within 90 days of its enactment (March 13, 2013).  The new law, which amends the New York City Administrative Code, generally precludes employers from:

  • basing an employment decision with regard to hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment on an applicant’s unemployment and
  • publishing an advertisement for any job vacancy that contains any provision (1) stating or indicating that being currently employed is a requirement or qualification for the job or (2) stating that an employer will not consider individuals for employment based on their unemployment.

It does not, however, prohibit an employer from

  • considering an applicant’s unemployment, where there is a substantially job-related reason for doing so,
  • inquiring into the circumstances surrounding an applicant’s separation from prior employment,
  • considering only, or giving priority to, its current employees, or
  • determining compensation or terms or conditions of employment based on a person’s actual amount of experience.

An individual who believes he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against will have the option of proceeding in court or filing a complaint with the New York City Human Rights Commission.

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