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NYC Adopts Tough Jobless-discrimination Law

By JENNIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ New York City will soon have the nation's most far-reaching laws barring employers from shunning out-of-work job applicants, after lawmakers passed the provisions Wednesday over a mayoral veto.

When the law takes effect in three months, the city will be the fourth place in the country with some form of legislation against discriminating against unemployed job-seekers. But it will be alone in letting applicants sue employers for damages over claims that they were rejected because of their joblessness.

"We cannot and will not allow New Yorkers who are qualified and ready to work and looking to work to have the door of opportunity slammed in their faces," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

It felt like that to Joe Capone as he looked for work after a tough break more than three years ago: He left his information technology support job in late 2009 for a better-paying offer that then got rescinded.

At one point, he said, a recruiter told him to fudge his resume to say he'd been working, or he'd never get a response. He didn't follow the advice and eventually found a job in December 2011.

But it still bothers Capone that unemployment may be holding other job-seekers back.

"It's something that's totally out of their control, especially in certain fields," said Capone, 46, who lives in the city.

Unemployment-discrimination laws have been floated around the country in recent years. President Barack Obama proposed one in 2011, and New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., have passed laws barring jobs ads that say applicants must be employed. New Jersey, which enacted the first such measure in 2011, has cited at least one company for an ad that excluded jobless applicants, its state Labor Department says.

But the concept has hit roadblocks in other states. California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed an unemployment-discrimination measure last fall, indicating he wasn't happy with changes made to it. At least 15 other states have considered the idea but haven't enacted it.

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