Download Consumer Protection Tips about Employment Agencies as PDF in:


What is an employment agency?
An employment agency helps employers find employees and jobseekers find work for a fee.

Get free help.
The City offers free help for jobseekers. Visit or call 311 and ask to find a Workforce1 Career Center.

If you work with an employment agency to find a job, here are tips to help you.


  • Use a licensed employment agency. Employment agencies must have a Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) license.
    Visit or call 311 to check for a license and complaint history.

    • Employment agencies cannot charge you for other services like training classes or certifications.
    • Are you in security training school? It must be registered with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
    • Are you in bartending school? The New York State Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision oversees bartending schools.

  • Do not use employment agencies that “guarantee” jobs. Employment agencies cannot guarantee they will find you a job. Agencies can only refer you to jobs that are available and that pay at least the minimum wage.

    The minimum wage is set by New York State and federal law. Visit for New York State minimum wage.

  • Know how employment agency fees work. Employment agencies cannot charge upfront fees for most types of work. They cannot charge an application or interview fee.

    Agencies can only charge a fee for placing you in a job. Fees cannot be more than the maximum amount set by law.

    Visit for employment agency Laws and Rules, which have fee information.

    Agencies can only charge advance fees for these types of workers:
    • Domestic
    • Household
    • Manual labor
    • Agricultural
    • Skilled industrial
    • Mechanic

    The advance fee must go toward the final fee.

    You have the right to a full refund of your advance fee if:

    • The agency does not find you a job. OR
    • You do not accept the job offer. OR
    • You choose to stop working with the agency before it finds you a job.

  • Demand an accurate, written contract. Agencies must give you the full contract before you sign. Your contract should have:
    • Name, address, and DCA license number of the agency
    • Type of work
    • Price
    • Fee payment schedule

    Make sure that the written agreement matches your spoken agreement.

    Before signing, get the agency to answer all of your questions in writing.

    The agency must give you a copy of the contract and a receipt for each payment. Keep all copies in a safe place.

  • Do not answer illegal questions. Unless they are valid qualifications of the job, it is illegal for an employer or an agency to ask questions about:
    • Age
    • Race
    • Creed
    • Religion
    • Color
    • National origin
    • Gender
    • Disability
    • Marital status
    • Partnership status
    • Caregiver status
    • Sexual orientation
    • Alienage or citizenship status

  • File a complaint with DCA. File a complaint with DCA online at or contact 311 to file a complaint in your language. You do not have to give your name or your immigration status to make a complaint. Note: If you would like DCA to contact you, you must provide your name and address.

Download Job Hunter’s Bill of Rights as PDF in: