New York City Council Passes Bill Banning Use of Credit Checks in Employment Decisions: Amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law Makes It an Unlawful Discriminatory Practice for Most Employers to Use Consumer Credit Histories in Employment Decisions

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - April 22, 2015
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On April 16, 2015, the New York City Council passed an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law that will make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for most employers to request or use an individual’s consumer credit history for employment purposes.  The prohibition would not apply to employers that are required by state or federal law or regulation or by the rules of a self-regulatory organization as defined by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, such as FINRA, to use an individual’s consumer credit history for employment purposes.  In addition, employers would be permitted to request and use the credit history of certain enumerated categories of employees, including those involved in maintaining their employers’ digital security systems, those with signatory authority over third-party funds or assets valued at $10,000 or more, or those with fiduciary responsibility to their employer in connection with authority to enter into financial agreements valued at $10,000 or more.  The City Council declined to exempt employees of the financial services industry generally, as some other municipalities have done.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill shortly, and the law will take effect 120 days thereafter.