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An Unfair Way to Decide Whom to Hire

AM New York

Nearly half of the nation's employers investigate job applicants' credit histories as a condition of employment.

As a result, New Yorkers struggling with debt -- medical bills, school loans or car payments -- are often shut out of jobs. This unfair barrier to employment can be dismantled by outlawing employment credit checks.

Democratic Council Members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Debi Rose of Staten Island have introduced a bill that would ban such checks in hiring except when required by state or federal laws. The measure is supported by 40 council members.

Credit reports were developed to assist lenders in evaluating loan risks, not to decide employment. Here's the problem:

Credit-reporting firms have marketed their products to employers as a way to assess an applicant's character. Yet there is no body of evidence to prove that reviewing credit histories produces a more reliable workforce.