A.G. Schneiderman Helps Secure Access To Employment Opportunities For Taxi Driver Applicants In Oswego

In response To A.G.'s Concerns, City Of Oswego Takes Corrective Action To Reverse Local Law That Unlawfully Denied Individuals Taxicab Licenses

Schneiderman: Revised Law Will Help Address Barriers Faced By Those Seeking To Re-enter The Job Market

 

SYRACUSE– Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today an agreement with the City of Oswego to modify a local law that prohibited individuals with felony convictions from obtaining taxi licenses, without first considering several factors required by state law.

Adopted on September 24, 2012, Local Law No. 2 prohibited any individual from obtaining a taxicab license in the City of Oswego if he or she had been convicted of a felony in the past ten years, among other things. The ordinance conflicted with state laws that require licensing agencies to consider several factors before disqualifying an individual based on his or her criminal record, including the nature and gravity of the conviction, its relation to the duties of the job sought, the amount of time which has passed since the conviction, the age of the applicant when the offense was committed, and any evidence of rehabilitation. In addition, Local Law No.2 included other provisions that conflict with New York state laws which prohibit employers and licensing agencies from considering arrests that were terminated in favor of the individual or resulted in a sealed conviction or youthful offender adjudication.

The Attorney General's Office worked with the City of Oswego to reverse Local Law No.2, which the Oswego Common Council did by a unanimous vote late Monday, bringing the City back into compliance with state law.

“Every eligible New Yorker should be able to seek employment in our state and be given the opportunity to be fully vetted to determine their eligibility to carry out the job.The City of Oswego has reversed a law that would have unlawfully denied taxi driver applicants the ability to be fairly considered for the job,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.“Our office is committed to addressing barriers to reentry and ensuring that all New Yorkers have equal access to employment opportunities.”

The City of Oswego's Common Council conducted a public hearing on Local Law No. 2 last night, received testimony and subsequently voted to reverse the law. As a result, applicants for taxi licenses in the City of Oswego will now be eligible to obtain such licenses in accordance with the requirements of state law.

Jeremy Zielinski, Chief Executive Officer of the Workforce Advocacy Center, said, "We appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Schneiderman to ensure that all New Yorkers have equal access to employment opportunities in our state. Every job candidate or license applicant deserves the chance to be judged based on their individual qualifications and not be disqualified outright because of a conviction in their past."

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Sandra Pullman and Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Ajay Saini under the supervision of Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Janet Sabel.

The Civil Rights Bureau of the Attorney General's Office is committed to combating discrimination in employment for all New Yorkers. To file a civil rights complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8250 or civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, or visit www.ag.ny.gov

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