NYS Senate & Assembly pass Justice for Job Seekers bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2015

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

On the last day of the 2015-16 legislative session, the NYS Assembly and the Senate passed the Justice for Job Seekers bill (S.8102/A.10672)! Once signed by Governor Cuomo, the bill will provide meaningful protections to low-wage immigrant workers as they look for work in the state of New York.

LatinoJustice was instrumental in the creation the Justice for Job Seekers (J4JS) campaign in collaboration with the New Immigrant for Community Empowerment (NICE) of Queens. The J4JS campaign was born from the many experiences of NICE members who had paid advance fees ranging from $100 and up to predatory and fraudulent employment agencies for job referrals. Low-wage immigrant workers frequently rely on such employment agencies to find jobs.

Unfortunately, many agencies often take advantage of and defraud immigrant workers by charging exorbitant fees for unfulfilled services, or knowingly place workers in jobs that violate labor laws and fail to pay minimum wage.

LJP’s Employment Agency Abuse Project (EAAP) had reviewed data obtained from the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) which revealed that 92% of employment agency complaints to DCA between 2013-2014 reported unlicensed employment agency activity. LatinoJustice’s research was instrumental to and cited by NICE and other J4JS coalition members in drafting investigative reports and memos of support for the New York Justice for Job Seekers Bill. See LJP’s letter in support of the original J4JS bill here.

A.10672/S.8102 will curb prevalent consumer fraud in the employment agency industry among low-wage workers by eliminating the advance fee exception and by strengthening current enforcement. Over 400 licensed employment agencies exist in the state, with the majority of them operating in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. However, many more unlicensed agencies operate through the state in violation of state laws.

LJP’s Employment Agency Abuse Project was created in 2012 by former EJW Legal Fellow Laura Huizar who in partnership with NICE organized the Justice for Job Seekers Coalition, and served as the group’s counsel.

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