Bloomberg calls Quinn’s unemployment-discrimination effort ‘misguided’

bloomberg-calls-quinns-unemployment-discrimination-effort-misguided
Bloomberg in Brooklyn on Wednesday. (via NYC.gov)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg may support City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but he described her latest effort to prevent discrimination against unemployed people as "one of the most misguided pieces of legislation."

"It will damage lots of small businesses," he said.

Today, Quinn will allow the City Council to vote on a bill that makes it illegal under the city's human rights law for an employer to reject a job candidate based on that candidate's employment status. It also makes it illegal for employers to list current employment as a prerequisite in job advertisements.

“Imagine spending every day and night for months upon months upon months looking for a job—only to be told ‘don’t even bother … unemployed need not apply,'" said Quinn yesterday in a statement.

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New York City's unemployment rate, at 9.4 percent, is higher than the national and state average.

Quinn's political calculus in pushing the measure seems clear, as she seeks to demonstrate to the city's liberal Democratic base that, though she has declined to allow the Council to vote on paid sick leave, which the mayor also deplores, she is willing to back initiatives that are similar in spirit.

The mayor today said he would veto the employment-discrimination legislation.

"I can't think of any rational employer who wouldn't want to know what you've been doing for a period of time," said the mayor, at a groundbreaking ceremony for the old Loew's Kings Theater in Flatbush.

He predicted that the law would just lead to "a rash of lawsuits" that would prove debilitating to small business.

The Council is likely to override the mayor's veto.