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U.S. Lawsuit Claims Companies Illegally Refused to Hire Ex-Cons

Jun 25, 2015 / Media Coverage / Reuters

Dozens of companies using recruiting websites violated New York City law by refusing to hire anyone with a felony record, affecting mostly black people, according to a lawsuit filed by the NAACP on Thursday.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sued a class of companies it said were breaking city and state laws that bar businesses from refusing to consider former convicts for jobs. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Manhattan.

Since New York's prison population was more than half black, the lawsuit argued, such policies served to keep many black people out of the workforce.

Named in the lawsuit were Dutch electronics maker Koninklijke Philips NV, pest control company Advance Tech, Australian data management company Recall Holdings Ltd , and IT consulting company NTT Data. All of the companies have operations in New York.

The NAACP said in the complaint that it intended to add more defendants.

The lawsuit cited as an example a posting that it said was made by Philips on seeking a network engineer with "zero felony convictions."

Job-posting sites named in the lawsuit were Monster, ZipRecruiter and Indeed.

A spokesman for Recall Holdings said the company was reviewing the lawsuit and was "committed to fair and equitable recruitment and employment practices." Representatives for Monster and ZipRecruiter declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The other companies named in it did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of criminal histories vary by city and state.

The case is NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council of Branches v. Philips Electronics North America Corp, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 156382-2015.

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