Posted by Deyanira Del Rio
New York just became a more equitable city. Today, Local Law 37 goes into effect, making it illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants or employees on the basis of credit history. New York City’s credit check ban is the strongest in the country, covering all employers and virtually all job positions. New Economy Project, which led the coalition that fought to end employment credit checks, applauds the City for enacting this landmark labor and civil rights law.
Across the country, nearly half of all employers – including large retail and restaurant chains – use credit information to make hiring and other decisions. This practice is fueled by a multi-billion dollar credit reporting industry, which has sold employers the lie that someone’s credit report reveals how reliable or trustworthy they are. The truth is that someone’s credit history says nothing about their character or ability to do a job well (as TransUnion’s own executive was forced to admit under oath).
What poor credit does reflect, in many cases, are the consequences of racial discrimination in lending, housing and employment, or the economic fallout from a divorce, medical emergency, or unexpected job loss. Using credit history to discriminate against qualified job applicants and employees perpetuates racial and economic inequality. It allows employers to invade workers’ privacy, and creates an unfair Catch-22 for hardworking New Yorkers trying to get back on their feet. New Yorkers should be proud that their city has knocked down this unfair barrier to jobs.
New Economy Project salutes Demos, RWDSU, NYPIRG, DC37 and all of our partners in the NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment that fought hard to win this incredible victory. We applaud the bill’s chief sponsor, Council Member Brad Lander, for his leadership. Most of all, we thank the many New Yorkers who stepped forward to tell their powerful stories of being blocked from desperately-needed jobs because of employment credit checks. Their contributions have helped expand economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.
For more information and updates, check out our coalition’s website, creditcatch22.org.
To learn more about workers’ rights under the new law and how to file a complaint, visit nyc.gov/cchr.