Senator Stewart-Cousins Announces Legislation to Bar Discrimination Against Unemployed

May 19, 2011

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/I/WF) announced at a press conference in her district office, the introduction of Senate bill 5316. The bill would make the unemployed a "protected class" in New York and make it illegal for employers to deny out-of-work applicants an interview or position solely because they are jobless. It would also prohibit employers from posting job advertisements that discourage the unemployed from applying to vacant positions.

The bill is co-sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Keith Wright.

Joining Senator Stewart-Cousins at the press conference were several unemployed Westchester residents who said they had all experienced discrimination in some form because they are unemployed. Senator Stewart-Cousins says their experiences are representative of an increasingly common hiring practice throughout New York and the nation.

“It is fundamentally unfair for employers to refuse to hire, or even accept applications from individuals who are out of work. With the unemployment rate in the State still at staggeringly high levels, this prevents people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own from getting back on their feet. It is discriminatory, it is wrong and it must not continue,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins.