New York City Passes Law Prohibiting Discrimination Against the Unemployed

Under a recent amendment to the New York City Administrative Code, it is now unlawful to discriminate against job applicants based on their unemployment status. N.Y.C. Admin. Code. §§ 8-107(21)(a)(1)-(2). The law takes effect on June 11, 2013. The law, passed by the New York City Council over Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto, prohibits employers and employment agencies from discriminating against applicants who have previously been unemployed. Specifically, the law makes it illegal for employers to base employment decisions regarding “hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment on an applicant’s unemployment.” N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 107(21)(a) (1)-(2). The law defines “unemployed” or “unemployment” as “not having a job, being available for work and seeking employment.” N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-102(27).

Despite the broad language restricting what aspects of an applicant’s work history cannot be considered, the law is clear about several considerations employers may still keep in mind while hiring...

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