Practice Areas

NYC Limits Credit History Use Beginning September 3

Beginning September 3, 2015, it will be illegal for covered employers in New York City to request or use an employee’s or applicant’s consumer credit history to make employment decisions.

The Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act amends the New York City Human Rights Law, which applies to employers with 4 or more employees, and prohibits covered employers from requesting or using the consumer credit history of an applicant or employee for employment purposes.  The law also prohibits covered employers from discriminating against applicants and employees with regard to hiring, compensation or other terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on the applicant’s or employee’s consumer credit history.

The new law defines “consumer credit history” as including:

  • consumer credit reports (which includes any communication from a credit reporting agency that bears on a consumer’s creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity or credit history);
  • credit scores; or
  • other information an employer directly obtains from an applicant or employee about credit accounts, including:
    • details about credit accounts, including the individual’s 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 new law allows employers to request consumer credit information from applicants and employees in limited circumstances, including when hiring for:

  • Positions where an employer is required by state or federal law or regulations or by a self-regulatory organization to use an individual’s consumer credit history for employment purposes;
  • Police officer or peace officer positions;
  • Positions in which employees are required to be bonded under federal, state or city law;
  • Positions in which employees are required to possess security clearance under federal or state law;
  • Non-clerical positions having regular access to trade secrets, intelligence information or national security information;
  • Positions having signatory authority over third party funds or assets valued at $10,000 or more;
  • Positions that involve a fiduciary responsibility to the employer with the authority to enter into financial agreements valued at $10,000 or more on behalf of the employer; and
  • Positions with regular duties that allow the employee to modify digital security systems established to prevent the unauthorized use of the employer’s or client’s network or databases.

Nothing in the new law prohibits employers from requesting or receiving consumer credit history information pursuant to lawful subpoenas, court orders or law enforcement investigations.