Resources > Rights >

What You Need to Know About Employment Agencies

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) protects every individual seeking work at any employment agencies, regardless of nationality, immigration status, race, gender or religion.

If an Employment Agency charges you a fee for finding a job, the Employment Agency must be Licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The agency must display its license on the premises, where the consumer can see it.

In New York City, it is required by the law, that the Employment Agencies describe in writing, all the jobs available for agency referral. The description must list the name and address of the employer, the wage, work hours, job description and the agency fee.

If any of these descriptions does not exists please call 311.

  • Employment Agencies should not guarantee that they would find you a job. If they promise that you will be hired, the agencies are violating the law. If a job has directly been offered by the employer then you can be sure of a job, no agency can guarantee you a job.
  • Employment agencies cannot refer you to a job that pays less than minimum wage which is $5.15 per hour and a job that does not pay overtime.
  • Employment agencies cannot ask you about your marital status, age, nationality or number of children you have.
  • If you are looking for domestic work, agencies are required to give you a statement of your rights and the employer’s responsibilities.
  • Employment agencies can charge you fee on certain cases, they must refund you the fee if you decide to terminate the contract before the agency finds you a job.
  • Employment agencies can also charge another fee after finding you a job. This is the placement charge and it is a percent from your new salary. If an advance fee is charged, it must be deducted from the placement charge.
  • An employment agency cannot charge you a placement fee that is more than the maximum amount set forth by the law for the type of employment that the agency has helped you to find. The maximum fee for each type of employment is set forth in the New York State General Business Law.
  • The employment agencies are not allowed to demand the whole placement fee at one time, for a weekly wage earners it is usually paid in equal installments at the end of each pay period.

Before signing any paper or contract with the Employment Agencies please make sure you read all the fine prints. Any agreement you make with an employment agency must be is writing and must be signed by you and the agency.

Be aware of what is going on between you and your Employment Agency. Do not sign anything if the agency does not show you the whole contract.

Make sure the contract details:

  1. What services does the Employment Agencies promise?
  2. What is required from you to prepare for the job hunt?
  3. What happens if you do not accept a job offer from an employer?
  4. Will the agency provide you with the information of the employer including the name, address, type of work, job title, wages, compensations and hours.
  5. Does an agency do a back ground check to see if the employer has any violation against its past and present employees.
  6. If you are hired and fired or if you quit then what happens to the fee?
  7. Will the agency help you find another job?
  8. Does the contract allow you to use another Employment Agency?
  9. Do you get a refund if you become disabled and can no longer work?

Before signing a contract get the agency to answer all your questions in writing. The agency cannot promise you anything outside the contract.

DCA’s consumer complaint service is available on line at or you can call 311. There is no immigration status questions or restrictions. You can dial the famous 311 to find a licensed Employment Agency.