Glen Martin, Co-Director of the Legal Action Center's National HIRE Network, writes to tell us of two important bill signed into law by Governor Spitzer yesterday:
S.3092/A.3379 -- Amends the Human Rights Law (Executive Law § 296(16)) so that individuals with confidential youthful offender (YO) adjudications and sealed convictions for non-criminal offenses are protected against discrimination. Individuals with criminal convictions are protected against unfair employment and licensure discrimination (Section 296(15) of the Executive Law) as are individuals whose cases have been terminated in their favor (Section 296(16) of the Executive Law.) However YO adjudications, which are not judgments of convictions, and convictions for non-criminal offenses, fall under neither of these categories, and thus individuals with these histories are entirely without protection against unfair employment and licensure discriminatory practices. Because of the failure to include them within the protection of the Human Rights Law, these two groups of individuals have no remedy if employers refuse to hire them. Despite the fact that the law says that YO adjudications are "confidential," there is nothing currently in law that prohibits employers from asking about them.
S.3092/A.3379 remedies these problems by bringing statutory protections for confidential YO adjudications and sealed non-criminal convictions in line with Executive Law § 296(16).