By Bill Parry
State Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) has turned vampire-hunter.
He is the lead sponsor of the Justice for Job Seekers Bill, a piece of legislation that seeks to crack down on “vampire” employment agencies.
“For too long, we’ve allowed ‘vampire’ employment agencies to lurk in the shadows and prey upon our most vulnerable,” Moya said. “The Justice for Job Seekers Bill will allow us to expose them to the light of day and stop these predators in their tracks.”
“Vampire” employment agencies take advantage of low-wage workers and immigrants by demanding exorbitant fees for job placements that don’t exist and by sending workers to jobs that pay below the minimum wage, he explained.
“No one should be fleeced just because they’re dutifully trying to secure employment,” Moya said. “ ‘Vampire’ employment agencies are just looking to make a quick buck off the backs of immigrants and low-wage workers.”
Moya’s legislation would require agencies to create written agreements with applicants, require agencies to refund any advance fees collected prior to Oct. 1, 2014, if such fees did not result in employment, and require agencies to notify applicants in writing in their primary language that “an employment agency may not charge you, the job applicant, a fee before referring you to a job that you accept.”
The bill would also increase the penalty for violating the law pertaining to employment agencies, allow people who have been victimized by “vampire” employment agencies to sue for damages, and end discrimination against low-wage workers.
“For years, we have seen predatory employment agencies giving false leads, refusing refunds and cheating job seekers,” New Immigrant Community Empowerment Executive Director Valeria Treves said, “communities and our representatives are saying, ‘No More!’ We applaud the legislation that will greatly impact the lives of low-wage job seekers.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4538.