A New York state court granted preliminary approval of a settlement and conditionally certified a class of New York City employers who are alleged to illegally post job listings City with blanket bans on applicants with felony convictions, in violation of New York law, Outten & Golden LLP and co-counsel said today.
Filed in June 2015, the class action brought by 14 New York metropolitan area branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc. (NAACP) targets employers that posted illegal job listings facilitated by job search engines including Monster Worldwide, Inc., which owns Monster.com, ZipRecruiter, Inc., which owns ZipRecruiter.com, and Indeed, Inc., which owns Indeed.com.
The class action was filed on behalf of African American residents of the City of New York that are banned from employment by the defendant class because they have felony convictions. New York state and city laws forbid employers from denying employment to job applicants with criminal records without evaluating eight factors set forth in Article 23-A of the New York State Corrections Law. The lawsuit seeks injunctive and declaratory relief forbidding the defendant employers from posting and disseminating the illegal listings on job search websites.
In his Oct. 13 ruling, the Hon. Manuel J. Mendez stated, "[I]t is ordered that plaintiff's motion for preliminarily approval of class settlement, conditional certification of the settlement class, and approval of the proposed notice of settlement, is granted."
Outten & Golden partner Ossai Miazad, one of the lawyers responsible for the prosecution of this matter, said, "For too long, employers have been telling prospective job applicants that they have no hope of applying for a job if they have a felony conviction — a practice that reduces the employment prospects of thousands of New York residents, many of whom are Black and Hispanic. This ruling puts all New York City employers on notice that they can no longer flout the law in this manner."
The NAACP is represented by Outten & Golden, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and James I. Meyerson, of New York.
Ken Cohen, Director of the NAACP NY Metropolitan Council, said, "Our goal is to stop all New York City-area employers from using online recruiting sites that violate the New York City Human Rights Law and the Fair Chance Act. The court's ruling moves us a step closer to achieving justice and we look forward to the cooperation of Monster, Indeed and ZipRecruiter in realizing this goal."
The lawsuit is "NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council of Branches v. Philips Electronics North America Corp., et al.," Index No. 156382/2015 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County. More information about the litigation can be found here.
Job applicants who wish to report their experiences with blanket felony bans in employment applications can email @email.