New York City Amends Human Rights Law to Prohibit Credit History Discrimination in Employment

Last week, the New York City Council passed the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act, which amends the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s consumer credit history.

The law defines “consumer credit history” as “any information bearing on an individual’s credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, including but not limited to an individual’s credit score, credit account and other consumer account balance, and payment history.”

Specifically, the law prohibits an employer, labor organization, employment agency or licensing agency from (1) requesting a consumer credit history for employment purposes, (2) using it for employment purposes, or (3) retaliating or otherwise discriminating, against an applicant or employee with respect to employment decisions, including hiring, firing, promotion, and terms, conditions or privileges of employment, based upon information contained in the consumer credit history.

Employers would still be permitted to request and rely on credit history reports where  required by state or federal law.

The amendment took effect immediately.