Bill To Protect Unemployed Workers Has Quinn, Bloomberg At Odds
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is preparing for a fight with Mayor Bloomberg. The council passed legislation legislation Wednesday that prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants because they are unemployed, but the mayor is promising a veto. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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After losing her position at a public relations agency in 2008, Janet Falk started looking for a new full-time job.
"I contacted, extensively, people in my network," she said. "I applied for jobs. I was in touch with recruiters."
But Falk's employment status put her at a disadvantage. She said one recruiter refused to refer her for a position because she had been unemployed for more than three months.
"It was not the first time," she said.
A bill approved by the City Council is trying to ensure that a situation like that does not happen again in New York City.
"This is a piece of legislation that says you can't discriminate against people who are unemployed," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The bill prohibits employers from using a job applicant's employment status when deciding whether to hire them. Job ads that say applicants must be employed would not longer be allowed.
"You can't simply say, 'Don't come here, I won't hire you because you are unemployed,' which is exactly what is happening, and is wrong, and is really putting people in a situation where they are going to be trapped in a box of unemployment, potentially forever," Quinn said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fighting back, arguing that it will lead to a rash of lawsuits from unemployed job seekers.
"I am going to veto that bill," the mayor said. "It is one of the most misguided pieces of legislation."
Mayor Bloomberg's opposition to the legislation may not be enough to stop it, though. Speaker Quinn said she has the votes in the council to override the mayor's veto.
"That will not be an issue," she said.
As for Janet Falk, she now has her own public relations company and an array of clients. She supports the council vote, but she said she would prefer to see incentives put in place for employers to hire people who have been unemployed for a long time.