Under new law, Human Rights Commission required to dispatch fake job applicants

In addition to federal and state laws banning discrimination against certain groups with regard to employment, housing and public accommodations; New York City has taken additional steps to stomp out discrimination. For residents in New York City, regulatory policies and related penalties are outlined in the New York City Human Rights Law.

When applying for housing or a job, the law prohibits discrimination against individuals due to their age, race, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, immigration status, disability, criminal history, credit history and marital. In an effort to ensure that city employers are following the law’s provisions related to hiring practices, the city’s Human Rights Commission has been called upon to participate in what’s known as “matched-pair testing.”

Using the technique, “two similarly credentialed pseudo job applicants…show up separately” to an interview. However, one of the fake job applicants has an attribute that is protected under the Human Rights Law. In cases where an employer notes, inquires about or otherwise discriminates against the fake job applicant with the protected characteristic, the offending employer may be subject to fines of between $2,500 and $25,000.

The new law stipulates that, annually, the Human Rights Commission complete at least five of these fake applicant tests. The Oct. 1 deadline by which the agency must dispatch fake applicants is quickly approaching. News or publicity about the new law and the dispatching of fake job applicants has been sparse and it’s likely that many local employers aren’t even aware of the new law or of the actions that may render them to be in violation.

Source: Crain’s New York Business, “Coming soon: fake job applicants,” Andrew J. Hawkins, May 20, 2015

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