The New York City Council just passed a bill, Intro 814-A, which would prohibit an employer from using a person’s employment status in hiring and from posting job advertisements that require applicants to be currently employed, and would give such a rejected applicant a private right of action.
Last February 24th, we recapped our numerous blogs where we wrote that under existing anti-discrimination laws, there is no protected class known as “the unemployed,” and if you are not hired because of your unemployment status, you have no actionable claim of discrimination. Blogs of 9/14/11; 6/8/11; 2/22/11 However, more than a dozen states are following the lead of New Jersey in seeking to pass legislation that would include "the unemployed" within the class protected against employment discrimination.
NY’s Mayor Bloomberg, however, promised a veto of the bill, stating that the bill would “be devastating” to small businesses, which need to know such information and which will be threatened with costly litigation if they fail to hire an unemployed applicant. Christine Quinn, the Council Speaker, claims that there are enough votes to override such a veto.
Bloomberg was quoted as saying that “this is certainly not the time that we need an incentive for small businesses in particular to not hire anybody."
Law360 Employment quoted Speaker Quinn, who is seeking to become Mayor, as saying that "Discrimination is wrong in all its forms, and we cannot — and will not — allow New Yorkers who are qualified and ready to work have the door of opportunity slammed in their faces.”