Brooklyn city councilman wants to bar employers from doing credit checks on job applicants

In the Press

Brooklyn city councilman wants to bar employers from doing credit checks on job applicants

Reuven Blau
New York Daily News
05/15/2012

A city councilman wants to help more workers land jobs by barring employers in the city from running credit checks on job-seekers.

“In a time of continued economic hardships, employers shouldn’t deny people jobs based on their credit history,” said Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), who plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday.

In the city, the jobless rate was 9.7% as of March, the most recent data available. Across the country, about 60% of employers use credit checks to weed out job applicants, a study by a national human resources umbrella group found.

Local businesses are firmly against Lander’s proposal.

“The New York City Council is overreaching when it tries to dictate the human resource policies of private employers that operate not just in our city but globally,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, an influential group of business leaders. She argued there are “many jobs where the credit ratings of potential employees are directly relevant to protecting both employer and customer interests.”

But Lander said the credit checks have become increasingly problematic as student debt from school loans continues to rise. “How can they pay it off if they can’t get a job?” Lander asked.

The city’s human rights commissioner would be charged with enforcing the law. Penalties would likely include fines against employers who violate the policy.

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