Consumer reporter Michele Singletary has penned this article entitled In New York, good riddance to a questionable hiring practice.
Singletary explains that "[f]ederal law allows employment credit checks under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It requires employers to get an applicant’s or employee’s permission before pulling his or her history. But really, if you want the job, how likely are you to refuse such a request?"
And then, she asks:
How does the fact that you once couldn’t pay your credit card bill correlate to job performance? Or if someone is a poor money manager, does that mean she’s more likely to commit fraud? We don’t really know the answers to those questions, yet many employers are allowed to screen folks on the assumption that their character is related to their credit history. As I’ve seen in my own work with people, a bad credit record can be the result of a host of problems not linked to irresponsible financial behavior. The think tank Demos and other advocates have found that many people’s credit was brought down by periods of unemployment or medical debt. Some were the victims of predatory lending practices.
Singletary then goes on to explain that"[e]leven states limit employers’ access to or use of [job] applicants’ credit information — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. And 28 bills are pending in statehouses across the nation. And then she describes a new law in New York City that proponents say is the toughest in the country.
More details on the NYC law can be found here and here.