NYC's New Law To Help The Unemployed Could Backfire

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Photo: Library of Congress

New York City passed a bill yesterday making it illegal for employers to reject job applicants based on their unemployment status.While the new law makes New York City the biggest protector of unemployed job-seekers in the nation, it could backfire.

Jennifer Peltz at the Associated Press reports that giving job seekers the right to sue companies “could have the unattended effect of making employers weary,” especially of giving those categorized as the long-term unemployed — or those who haven’t had a job for at least six months — a chance to interview. Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the bill for this reason (though his veto was overridden).

Barbara Hoey, a New York-based employment lawyer at Littler Mendelson, agrees, and told us that employers will now be even more cautious about who they interview: “I could say, ‘If I call them in and give them false hope and they don’t get hired, am I going to get sued?’

“The job interview today for many employers is a minefield, because you’re always worrying that you could potentially open your company up to a lawsuit.” Even baseless claims cost companies time and money.

According to the BLS, more than 1 in 3 unemployed workers have been looking for a job for at least six months.

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