Bill aims to protect from employment agency scams

A bill that aims to better protect people looking for a job from scams at employment agencies has already passed both the state Senate and Assembly, but it is yet to be signed into law.

Democratic lawmakers are releasing the findings of their new investigation that intends to show why the regulations included in the Justice for Job Seekers bill are necessary.

Video taken during an appointment at an employment agency in Queens shows an agent charging a job seeker a $120 fee and promising to find him a job. Under state law, guaranteeing a job is prohibited. And while agencies can legally charge a fee for their services, the agencies can only ask for that fee to be paid before the job is secured when it comes to typically low-paying positions such as those occupied by domestic, agricultural, industrial or unskilled workers.

According to lawmakers, the Justice for Job Seekers bill would prohibit agencies charging fees before employment is found, and it would also increase the civil and criminal fines agencies would face if they do not abide by the law.

In an effort to increase transparency, the bill also requires agencies to notify job seekers that no payment is due before a job is found and to provide job specifics that include hours and period of employment in both English and the job seeker's native language.

The bill was passed by both chambers of the state Legislature in June. A group of Democratic senators and Assembly members released a video in an attempt to motivate Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the revisions into law.

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