What You Should Know About Employment Agencies

Uploaded by NYCDCA on 12.07.2012

Hi, I'm Laura and I work in the Legal Division at Consumer Affairs. Many New Yorkers turn
to employment agencies for help finding a job, but before you do, here are a few tips
to remember.
First, only use a licensed employment agency. If something goes wrong, you’ll be better
protected if you are using a licensed agency. Licensed agencies must post a bond and have
a criminal background check and, of course, follow all government rules and regulations.
Check to see if an employment agency is licensed through “Instant License Check” on our
website nyc.gov or by calling 311. Once you’ve selected a licensed agency,
ask for a job description in writing. Employment agencies must describe all available jobs
in writing and the descriptions must include the employer’s name and address, how much
you’ll get paid, how many hours you’ll have to work and the total charge for using
the agency.
If an employment agency promises to guarantee you a job, walk away! No one can make that
promise, which is why it’s illegal. Here are some other illegal practices: An employment
agency can’t refer you to a job that pays less than the minimum wage or does not pay
overtime; and it can’t ask you about your nationality, marital status, age, sexual preference,
or the number of children you have.
When it’s time to sign the contract, make sure you are given a copy of the full contract.
Read it carefully before you sign. Make sure that everything you and the employment agency
agreed to is covered in the written contract. You can download a model employment agency
contract from our website to see what a contract should include.
For most jobs, employment agencies are not allowed by law to charge you a fee until after
they’ve gotten you a job. There are a few exceptions where a fee is allowed up front
– only for a job as a mechanic or as a domestic, household, manual, agricultural or industrial
worker. But even for those jobs, if they don’t find you one or you change your mind before
they do, they must give you a full refund. There are also limits to how much an agency
can charge depending on the type of employment and salary. Be sure to get a receipt. You
can download a model employment agency receipt from our website. If you have questions about
fees, call 311 for more information. If you are charged illegal fees or the employment
agency doesn’t find you a job and won’t give you a refund… file a complaint at nyc.gov
or by calling 311.
To learn more, download our guide to employment agencies, which is available in English, Spanish,
Russian, Hindi, Haitian Creole, traditional Chinese, Bengali, and Korean. Just visit nyc.gov
and search “Employment Agencies” and remember to file a complaint if you have any problems.