The job market is tough these days! Thus, it is not uncommon for individuals struggling in the job market to seek out employment agencies or temporary work for help. As such, it is no surprise that there has been a boom in applications with employment agencies in recent years. Although these unique companies that recruit and provide temporary personnel to businesses in exchange for a fee do not resemble the typical employer/employee relationship, anti-discrimination federal and state laws may still apply!

Such Federal Civil Rights Laws and New York State Human Rights laws prohibit employment agencies, such as a temporary staffing agency or a recruitment company, from engaging in discrimination based on age, race, religion, gender, national origin, military status, sex, disability or marital status.

Federal Protections

Under federal law, employment agencies are covered by Title VII if the agency regularly refers employees to employers. This may apply even if the employment agency doesn’t receive payment for this service, and the agency is covered no matter how many employees it has. As such, an employment agency is prohibited from discriminating against its own employees that personally work for the agency, as well as in individuals it refers to other jobs.

New York City Protections

Section 8-107 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York specifically states that it unlawful for employment agencies to utilize any prohibited basis in “receiving, classifying, disposing or otherwise acting upon applications for its services or in referring an applicant or applicants for its services to an employer or employers.”

Thus Section 8-107 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York effectively prohibits many of the practices that have been pervasive among these agencies in New York City and beyond:

  • Advertising in ways calculated to attract or dissuade applicants of a particular demographic profile
  • Rejecting or acting less favorably upon an application due to the applicant’s race, religion, gender, disability or other protected characteristic
  • Directing applicants of certain demographic profiles toward or away from certain employers, whether by its own initiative or at the request of the employer
  • Directing protected applicants toward lower-paying positions

Moreover, it is illegal for an employment agency to refer an applicant to an employer that the agency knows or reasonably should have known pays less than the minimum wage or an employer that is violating other labor laws such as state or federal wage, overtime, or child labor laws. (

If you are working with an employment agency, or are being referred to a position by an employment agency, and you believe you are being treated unfairly under the law, a New York employment discrimination lawyer can help you understand the next step you need to take to stand up for your rights and the rights of others who have faced discrimination. The experienced New York City attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. Working together with our Philadelphia sexual harassment and discrimination attorneys, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients who were discriminated against because of their gender or other protected classes. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your gender, please give our attorneys a call at 800-807-2209 for your free consultation.