City bans ‘unfair’ credit screenings of job seekers

De Blasio Signs Law Banning Use of Credit Checks in Hiring
De Blasio Signs Law Banning Use of Credit Checks in Hiring

NEW YORK (TIP): Employers in the city soon won’t be able to use credit checks to screen job applicants.

Under a bill signed into law Wednesday, May 6, by Mayor de Blasio, businesses will be banned from using credit reports, bankruptcies and liens to disqualify people from employment.

The law, which was sponsored by Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), takes effect in 120 days.

Advocates have pressed politicians for the prohibition because they say law-abiding applicants can’t get jobs after being saddled with student loans or medical bills that have ruined their credit.

“Credit checks for employment unfairly lock New Yorkers out of jobs. There is no link that can be shown between credit history and job performance, and now New York City law reflects that fact,” Lander said.

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He called the new law the toughest of its kind in the nation.

But it still provides exemptions.

Law-enforcement personnel, employees who have to be bonded and financial-service workers will all still be subject to credit vetting.

Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for New York City, which represents some of the city’s largest employers, described the law as striking “an important balance” that will still enable “employers to conduct credit checks for the most sensitive job openings while reducing chances that a poor credit history will unfairly disqualify job candidates.”

Still, Wylde said the partnership would be monitoring the law’s implementation to assess its “costs and consequences.”

Only three council members voted against the measure: Steven Matteo (R-SI, Mark Weprin (D-Queens) and Eric Ulrich (R-Queens).

“We cannot dictate to businesses what information is important in choosing their own employees when it could have a bearing on their suitability for the job they are seeking,” Matteo said.

“This bill, while well-intentioned, was simply too much government interference.”

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