NJs Proposed Employment Inquiry Restrictions Could Challenge Businesses, Says Corvo

Newark, N.J. (PRWEB) March 19, 2014

A New Jersey legislative bill aimed at helping unemployed job seekers to secure work could make life more difficult for employers, warns Laura H. Corvo, a partner in national law firm LeClairRyan’s Newark office.

The proposed bill, S-1440, would basically ban employers from inquiring about a job-seekers current employment status, explains Corvo, who focuses on employment litigation and employment counseling. At a time when job creation remains stubbornly slow, the intention of the proposed legislation is to reduce the hiring stigma associated with unemployment. But as it stands, the bill would increase the burden on New Jersey businesses and potentially increase their exposure to failure-to-hire lawsuits.

Under the bill, during the hiring process, a company would be prohibited from using an applicants current employment status as a factor in hiring decisions. Employers that violate the prohibition would face a $ 1,000 penalty the first time, a $ 5,000 penalty for a second offense and a $ 10,000 penalty for any subsequent offense.

Were seeing more laws like this being considered or passed, notes Corvo. In 2011, New Jersey passed a law, N.J.S.A. 34:8B, that bans companies from publishing job advertisements which discourage unemployed from applying. About 12 states have floated the idea of expanding protections for jobless individuals, similar to the one currently being considered here. So even if this proposed bill doesnt pass in New Jersey this year, some form of it is likely to be enacted in the near future.

These kinds of laws are relatively new, and many employers have not taken the necessary steps to shield themselves, warns Corvo. New York City, for example, amended its Human Rights Law (N.Y.C. Admin. Code.

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