New York Legislation Bans Employers From Discriminating Against the Unemployed

Lawyers.com reports, due to a new law passed by New York City Council in March 2013, employers can no longer discriminate against job applicants based on their current employment status.

The legislation, Intro 814-A, provides legal recourse for candidates refused employment due to not having a job at the time they applied for a position. This anti-discriminatory legislation allows affected individuals to appeal to the New York City Council Commission on Human Rights for correction. They may also file lawsuits against the offending organizations.

The law took effect in mid-June of last year, requiring employers to furnish “job-related” rationale for hiring decisions. Such considerations include experience requirements, training or education standards, and other credentials or licenses necessary to perform a position.

According to New York employment attorney Charles Joseph, the news is “welcome in a down economy,” when countless well-qualified individuals find themselves out of work due to no fault of their own. Although opponents of the law claim it will make employers more wary of who they choose to interview, Joseph asserts plaintiffs will need to present strong evidence of wrongdoing to win a lawsuit.

The article further notes a similar federal law has reportedly received support from President Obama.


Employee Overtime Lawsuit Hits Quinn Emanuel, Staffing Agency

In light of a pending class action lawsuit against law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Sullivan and legal staffing agency Providus, New York employment attorney D. Maimon Kirschenbaum notes, “If there’s one profession that should get it right when it comes to paying their employees, it’s the legal profession.”

A recent article by Rocket News synopsizes the case, which addresses the alleged failure of Quinn Emanuel to pay its contract attorneys overtime during the 57 to 60-hour workweeks they experienced while under the firm’s employ.

According to the plaintiff, attorney William Henig, Providus hired him on behalf of Quinn Emanuel to perform reviews of documents regarding “pending litigation.” As “joint providers” of employment, the suit states, both entities were responsible for adhering to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines, which require employers to pay employees time and a half for weekly work above 40 hours.

The defendants claim the plaintiffs fell under the FLSA professional exemption because, as attorneys, they were performing work a typical novice lawyer would perform. However, Kirschenbaum says the employers knew better and were simply benefiting from cheap labor in a poor employment market.

Kirschenbaum has earned a reputation over his short career as a champion for employees of such high-profile employers. Especially known for going after restaurateurs and law firms, he seeks to hold such entities accountable for what he believes are unscrupulous wage practices.