New York state law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified applicants and employees with disabilities.
These laws prohibit discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoffs and training. Employers must also provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees, unless that accommodation poses an "undue hardship" for the business.
Preferred Source law encourages hiring disabled employees
One New York law does not just prohibit discrimination - it encourages employers to hire people with disabilities.
Under New York's Preferred Source law, public agencies are required to purchase goods and services from employers that hire people with disabilities. The law, passed 40 years ago, incentivizes employers that work with state agencies to hire people with disabilities.
Bill would update Preferred Source law
A bill sitting in the New York State Assembly would update the Preferred Source law to simplify some provisions. Changes would include simplifying administrative and contractual compliance with the law and allow minor subcontracting work to people with disabilities.
According to WBFO, a National Public Radio affiliate, approximately 7,000 individuals with disabilities are employed in New York due to the Preferred Source law. Advocacy groups pushing for the bill hope that changes would allow 10,000 or more people with disabilities to join the workforce.
The bill has already passed the Senate. Its sponsor, state Sen. Robert Ortt, hopes that the bill will pass the Assembly prior to the April 1 budget deadline.