New York City passes pre-employment credit-check ban

strictest pre-employment credit checking law in the country. In a 47-3 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill preventing employers in the city from running credit checks on job applicants. “Millions of Americans who have bad credit would also be great employees,” said Brad Lander, who sponsored the bill. “What they need to repair their credit is a job, and to make it harder for them to get a job is the definition of unfair.” Credit reports are often said to provide information that is often irrelevant for employers to know during the hiring process, and that conducting these kinds of checks allows employers to more easily discriminate against people of color, as well as those struggling financially or those with health problems. (According to studies by Demos, more than 50 percent of those with poor credit scores have medical debt that adversely affects their score, and that “predatory lending schemes” have predominately targeted non-white communities, increasing the number of defaults and foreclosures for these communities.) However, others believe that credit reports are an important part of the pre-employment process, as they paint a picture as to whether an individual can be trusted to, say, manage a company’s finances. Regardless, there will be a few exceptions to the New York City ban: if state or federal law requires a credit check for a position, the employer may still conduct one. Employers in fields related to law enforcement and national security may still have credit checks conducted, as will those who work in roles with “financial agreements valued at $10,000 or more” and those with access to “trade secrets.” The law is expected to go into effect in August, though enforcement will be difficult; enforcement will be via complaint, and it will be up to workers to report violations to the law.]]>

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