On January 24th we blogged that the NYC Council had passed Intro 814-A, a bill 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 also give such a rejected applicant a private right of action – i.e., they can sue employers. As predicted, NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg vetoed 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.
At that time Bloomberg said that: "Faced with the prospect of being fined as much as $250,000 per violation by the Human Rights Commission, or perhaps much more at the whims of the courts, the practical effect of this law is that employers would simply choose to hire from within."
Now, the NYC Council has voted to override the Mayor’s veto by a whopping 43-4 vote, so that the new law will now take effect in three months.
New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia have similar laws, but NYC, as ABC says: “will be alone in letting applicants sue employers for damages over claims that they were rejected because of their joblessness.”*
*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.