Memorandum of Support for
Justice for Job Seekers Bill
A.10672 & S.8102
New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) strongly supports and urges the adoption of A.10672/S.8102, legislation that will curb prevalent consumer fraud in the employment agency industry among low-wage workers by eliminating the advance fee exception and by strengthening enforcement.
NICE coordinates the Justice for Job Seekers Campaign that looks to protect job seekers through employment agency reform. The campaign was born out of the experiences of NICE's members with employment agencies that charge hundreds of dollars for job placements that never come through.
Employment agency abuse affects vulnerable job seekers throughout the entire state of New York. Over 400 licensed employment agencies exist in NYS, with the majority of them operating in the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester County. However, many more unlicensed agencies operate through the state in violation of state laws.
A.10672/S.8102 provides fair and meaningful protections to low-wage workers as they look for work in New York State.
1) Deter employment agency abuse by amending the General Business law to eliminate the advance fee exception and no longer allow employment agencies to charge low-wage workers (Class A; A1) a fee before placing them in a job. Class A and A1 workers are the only class of workers subject to advance fees under current law. The bill’s reforms would provide low-wage workers the same protections afforded to all other workers, who may only be charged a fee after an agency has secured them a job.
2) Strengthen enforcement by targeting repeat offenders and increasing penalties against violation employment agencies. These changes will bring New York up to part with other states like New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, and Hawaii so as to provide a greater and more effective deterrent against employment agency abuse
3) Creates new avenues for relief for victims of fraud living outside of New York City by granting the Office of New Americans (ONA) authority to process complaints and refer cases to the appropriate state agencies. A trusted office among immigrants with strong community presence in various areas of the state, ONA will improve access to state enforcement agencies for a marginalized population that typically faces many barriers to coming forward and exercising their rights.
The existing laws make it exceedingly difficult for low-wage job seekers to hold employment agencies accountable. The Justice for Job Seekers bill will make it harder for unscrupulous employment agencies to continue functioning with impunity and will ensure that all job seekers in New York State are protected. For these reasons, NICE strongly urges adoption of this legislation.
New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) is a community-based organization dedicated to building the power and advancing the rights of immigrant workers in New York.