According to a recent BNA report, the New York City Council, controlled by the Democratic Party, voted 47 to 3 to make credit history checks illegal under the city’s Human Rights Law.  Council leaders noted that consumer credit information is often used in hiring decisions even though “there is little evidence linking an employee's credit score or credit worthiness to job performance or trustworthiness.”  Among other things, the council noted that credit checks adversely impact “low-income communities and communities of color” as well as “women and victims of domestic violence.”  There are exemptions in the new law for jobs requiring security clearances by state or federal law, hiring of police offers and other positions of “public trust” (e.g., high-level city employees), positions that involve digital network security risks, and others.

A version of this bill was opposed by business leaders and was stalled in 2013 during the Bloomberg administration.  However the new bill is expected to be signed into law by now Mayor de Blasio.  If so, New York City will join California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington in passing similar credit history legislation.

By Art Gutman, Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

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