I just read an article regarding a new law (Bill 690-A) that was enacted in New York to help officials enforce employment laws. Employers are now faced with the possibility of having government officials poking around their hiring practices disguised as job applicants. The best way to not get in trouble with the Law is to always have ethical hiring practices.
The city’s Human Rights Commission will basically have two “testers” apply for, or inquire about, the same position in a company. While their qualifications will be similar, there will be a difference in the two applicants as one will have a characteristic protected by the city’s labor laws.
The protected characteristic may be, among other things, the person’s:
* national origin
*alienage or citizenship status
* gender/gender identity
* sexual orientation
* marital status
* partnership status
* criminal history
* unemployment status and/or
* status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offenses
This new action indicates a change in mindset for the investigative agency. Seeking out discrimination on its own instead of launching an investigation once a complaint has been filed by aggrieved individuals as has always been done in the past.
This new law will require the testing of at least five employers’ hiring practices over the next year. However, there is not a limit placed on how many tests the commission can conduct. They will be conducted without provocation or warning. You can bet if these tests turn up significant employment law violations, this model will most likely be adopted by other government agencies.
While we as employers should always be vigilant in preventing discrimination in hiring practices already, it may be behoove us to always remember to approach each applicant as if he or she is an investigator.