Bloomberg Vs. City Council Over Unemployment Hire Bill


As if the unemployed needed another political showdown in their honor after the fiscal cliff debacle.

Yesterday, City Council approved a bill that would bar an employer from not considering you simply because you’re unemployed (ironic, given that the unemployed are at the interview for a reason: because they’re unemployed). In effect, it would give potential hires the right to take an employer to court if he or she believes that someone didn’t hire them because of their job past.

However, that doesn’t mean all judicial hell breaks loose: the employer has every right to deny you employment if you lost your last job because you showed up late to work everyday with a burrito from Chipotle in hand.

As of now, only New Jersey and Oregon prohibit employers from using anti-unemployed language in their job listings. If approved, New York will become the first City in America to have such a bill in its ledger – and it’s a provision that remains a cornerstone of President Obama’s hopeful jobs package.

Except the piece of legislation, spearheaded by Speaker Christine Quinn, faces one major obstacle: the Mayor’s approval.

Mr. Bloomberg is not a fan of this bill, calling it “one of the most misguided pieces of legislation.” And he’s not going to sign off on it because he believes “it will damage lots of small businesses.”

For that matter, the Mayor is expected to veto the bill today. However, Ms. Quinn is positive it will be overridden. It’s probably appropriate at this time to mention that the City’s unemployment rate is floating near 9.4 percent, give or take the thousands of residents working below the living wage.

The Mayor argued that the small businesses he mentioned would be in this constant fear of litigation. This point reverts back to the judicial hell comment made before; if the unemployed are given the opportunity to sue employers for not being hired, why wouldn’t they? That question could lead to a vicious cycle of clogging courtroom hearings. It’s akin to the vicious cycle where you’re unemployed and no one will hire you because you’re unemployed.

Because desperate times call for desperate measures, right?