D.C Bill Protects Job Applicants’ Credit Histories

D.C Bill Protects Job Applicants’ Credit Histories

Washington, D.C., is the latest jurisdiction to consider legislation to prevent employers from conducting credit history screens for most job applicants.

Currently 11 states, New York City and Chicago have passed legislation limiting the use of credit checks in the hiring process. The states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

In November the D.C. Council Judiciary Committee unanimously passed The Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act, which would amend the city’s Human Rights Act of 1977 to include “credit information” as a protected trait.

The bill now being considered by the full D.C. Council would restrict an employer from checking an applicant’s credit history unless the employer can provide a credible reason, or local and federal law require the credit history screen.

An employer found to be in violation would face a $1,000 fine for the first offense, $2,500 for the second, and $5,000 for each succeeding violation.

Washington, D.C., passed a “ban-the-box” law in June 2014, which restricts employers from asking candidates about their criminal history before making a conditional offer.

Judiciary Chair and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, who introduced the credit check measure, said credit histories can be inaccurate and not indicative of how a worker will perform on the job.

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