Credit Checks, jobs, employment, application

A coalition of municipal labor leaders, liberal advocates and New York City Council members wants to end the common practice of using credit checks to screen applicants for jobs, saying it disproportionately harms blacks and Hispanics without accurately predicting fraud, writes The New York Times.

Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn sponsored the legislation. He said he drafted it because credit checks created unfairness in hiring, and there is no evidence that workers with poor credit will perform badly or commit fraud.

The current bill still permits credit checks by businesses that are required to perform it under federal or state law, such as banks that hire mortgage loan officers. But 41 of the 51 members have signed on to a new bill that will outline who should exempt from the ban, which is most everyone else.

“People want to pay off loans, but because of their troubles, they can’t even get a job,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. He added, the practice of conducting routine credit checks during as a part of the employment process can place people with credit trouble in an untenable situation.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary, Phil Walzak, said the administration “supports efforts to remove credit discrimination as an unnecessary obstacle to employment,” and that it was studying “instances where exemptions may be appropriate.”

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