NYC's Ban on Employment Credit Checks Shows What Organizing Can Accomplish

After a years-long campaign, The NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment has officially achieved its eponymous goal. As of today, employers can no longer submit employees or job applicants to credit checks—except in certain restricted circumstances.

I’m proud to have been part of the coalition’s leadership during the last year when the victory was finally brought home. I’m even prouder still that my organization and colleagues like Amy Traub have been national thought-leaders on credit checks policy for years.

It’s important to realize that NYC’s law is the nation’s strongest ban on employment credit checks. Of the dozen or so existing statutes around the country, the New York City law is the only law that is crafted and designed with the intent to remedy the racially discriminatory practice of checking a job applicant's credit history.

The integrity of the NYC law—that it is meaningful and will eliminate unnecessary red tape for many positions where a credit check is an arbitrary obstacle to employment, such as frontline retail and restaurant positions—is a testament to the intentional planning and perseverance by the coalition and progressive elected leaders like Brad Lander. 

I became an organizer for moments like today, when we see the evidence of the change we want to make. And I’m now more hopeful that others will take up the mantle and that this practice will be a thing of the past across the nation.