NY Town’s Law Targets Latino Workers

BROOKLYN (CN) – The Town of Oyster Bay enacted a law with a “discriminatory community animus” against Latino workers that unconstitutionally prohibits them from seeking work on public streets, two groups say in a federal civil rights complaint.

     The complaint claims the town ordinance targets people for the race and national origin, by design.
     “Plaintiffs represent residents of the Town of Oyster Bay who for years have successfully obtained temporary jobs by standing on local street corners and soliciting work from homeowners, contractors and other employers who pick them up and take them to job sites,” the complaint states. “These residents’ ability to seek work has been significantly curtailed by the recent passage of Chapter 205.32 of the Code of the Town of Oyster Bay (the ‘Ordinance’), which unlawfully prohibits speech related to employment and was enacted specifically in response to and as a result of discriminatory community animus regarding this group of workers.”
     The complaint adds: “(T)he ordinance was passed to prevent a group of predominantly Latino, immigrant day laborers from soliciting work in Oyster Bay so as to drive them out of their communities and out of the sight of residents who wish they were not there.”
     “In pursuit of this true goal, the ordinance reaches so far as to prohibit individuals and groups from engaging in general speech and advocacy intended to promote the security of employment.”
     Plaintiffs Centro de la Comunidad de Locust Valley and The Workplace Project want the law enjoined as unconstitutional. Their lead attorney is Corey Stoughton with the ACLU.

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