Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Peter J. Barnes III, Elease Evans and Celeste Riley to make it illegal to ask unemployed people not to apply for job vacancies has received final legislative approval.

The bill was recently approved 29-6 by the Senate. It was approved 58-18 by the Assembly in October. The legislation (A-3359) prohibits an employer from publishing - in print or on the Internet - an advertisement for a job that announces or suggests that unemployed individuals cannot apply for the job vacancy.

"We've seen a lot of tough things during this recession, but this trend of purposefully bypassing unemployed people when looking to fill job openings is inexplicable," said Barnes (D-Middlesex). "I see no reason for this practice that, when you think about, only helps perpetuate a high unemployment rate. It's 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 bill 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 bill would authorize a $5,000 penalty for a first offense and $10,000 penalties for subsequent offenses, collectable by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.