New York City has a new law prohibiting employers from discriminating against job applicants because they are not currently employed.  The new law gives rejected job applicants the right to sue for damages if they were denied employment based on their current employment (or, more accurately, unemployment) status.

The new provision in the New York City Human Rights Law goes into effect on June 11, 2013.  It allows rejected job applicants to seek damages by filing a complaint in court or with the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

The new unemployment discrimination law makes it illegal to base an employment decision with regard to hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment on an applicant’s unemployment status. 

The new law also prohibits advertisements for any job vacancy from stating that:  (i) current employment is a requirement or qualification for the job; or (ii) they will not consider an individual for employment based on his or her unemployment.

Employers may ask job applicants why they left their prior employer, including the “circumstances surrounding an applicant’s separation from prior employment.”  This means employers may still consider whether a job applicant was fired from a prior job due to poor performance or misconduct.

The law also gives employer’s a defense to a claim of unemployment discrimination when the employer’s decision was based on "substantially job-related qualifications.”  Some examples of “substantially job-related qualifications” include, where required for the particular job, “a current and valid professional or occupational license; a certificate, registration, permit or other credential; a minimum level of education or training; or a minimum level of professional, occupational or field experience.”

Applicants who have all the necessary qualifications, however, may not be denied employment simply because they are currently unemployed.

If you believe that you have been denied employment because you are currently unemployed, then you should consult with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer immediately to protect your rights.  There are strict time limits on when you must file your claim.

To arrange a free and confidential initial consultation with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer, call John Howley, Esq. at (212) 601-2728 or click here to reach our office via email.

John Howley, Esq.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.  I invite you to contact our law offices and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail.  Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.  I practice law and offer legal services only in jurisdictions where I am properly authorized to do so.  I do not seek to represent anyone in any jurisdiction where this web site does not comply with applicable laws and bar rules.


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