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Aug 19, 2014

By Eric B. Meyer

A bill that would have made it illegal for New Jersey companies to refuse to hire a job candidate because of his/her employment status is dead for now.

Last week, New Jersey banned the box.

However, Bob Jordan over at the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports here that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has put the kibosh on a bill that would essentially make “unemployment” a protected class, like race, religion, national origin and others protected under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

Proposed law is “completely unworkable”

New Jersey employers may refuse to hire a job applicant because he/she is unemployed.

According to the article:

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said the bill threatened to add to business costs and that the central point of the veto was enforcement issues.

“How would one enforce such a law, particularly in summary proceedings? How could a judgment be summarily made that the law had actually been broken? It’s completely unworkable” he said.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the same argument last year when he vetoed a measure allowing job-seekers to sue if they believe they have been turned away because they’re unemployed, but the law was enacted when City Council members overrode the veto.”

Lack of an “effective enforcement mechanism”

The  Christie spokesman also described the bill (the latest version is here) as “completely unworkable.” In his veto message, Gov. Christie agreed with lawmakers that New Jersey employers should be encouraged to hire the best candidates, regardless of job history. However, the Governor felt that, because the current bill lacks an effective enforcement mechanism, it would not benefit job seekers. Rather, it would only serve to create “additional legal proceedings.”

And we can’t have that, can we? 

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.