On April 16, 2015, the New York City Council passed the “Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act” which would amend the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit employers from requesting or using an individual’s consumer credit history in making hiring and employment decisions. The prohibition applies to all employment decisions, including those with respect to hiring; compensation; and terms, conditions and privileges of employment. Unlike recent “ban-the-box” proposed legislation, which generally restricts the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history until some point after the initial application process, the bill prohibits consideration of credit history at any point, both during and subsequent to the hiring process. “Consumer credit history” is defined in the bill QUITE BROADLY to include an individual’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, or payment history, as indicated by: (1) a consumer credit report; (2) credit score; or (3) other information an employer obtains directly from the individual regarding details about credit accounts, including number of credit accounts, late or missed payments, charged-off debts, items in collections, credit limit and prior credit report inquiries; or bankruptcies, judgments or liens. The bill would provide aggrieved applicants and employees the same rights and remedies afforded to an individual asserting any other claims pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law. Mayor Bill de Blasio is likely to sign the bill into law in the near-term. The bill would become effective 120 days from enactment. The text of the bill can be found here.
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