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Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Peter J. Barnes III, Elease Evans and Celeste Riley to make it illegal for employers to ask out-of-work New Jerseyans not to apply for jobs has been signed into law.

The bill was approved by the Legislature late last year, but the governor conditionally vetoed it. The Assembly then voted 72-5 to approve the revised bill, while the Senate voted 32-2 to approve it.

The revamped law (A-3359) prohibits an employer from publishing an advertisement for a job that announces that unemployed individuals cannot apply for the job vacancy.

“This unacceptable trend of purposefully bypassing unemployed New Jerseyans when looking to fill job openings is inexplicable but is now closer to coming to an end,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “I never saw a reason for this practice that, when you think about, only helped perpetuate a high unemployment rate. It was unfair and it must stop.”

“Telling unemployed people they cannot apply for a job is un-American,” said Evans (D-Passaic/Bergen). “A person should be judged on their ability to do the work, not on whether they had the terrible misfortune of being laid-off. These ads cannot be allowed to continue.”

“This law is very simply the right thing to do for thousands of New Jerseyans who, through no fault of their own, found themselves without a job in recent years,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Judging a person by whether they have a job is not the way to fill job vacancies. I want to see everyone judged on their skills and ability to do the job.”

The law will authorize a $1,000 penalty for a first offense and $5,000 penalties for subsequent offenses.