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New York State Employment Lawyers Advocate for Fair Use of Credit Checks during the Hiring Process

Ensuring your credit history is not illegally used against you

In the past, employers considered many factors when hiring new employees, including their qualifications for the position, their criminal background, their credit history and more. Many employers viewed a strong credit history as an indicator of good character, while a poor credit history may signify issues with responsibility. A recent amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law significantly limits an employer’s ability to consider an applicant’s credit history during the hiring process. As strong proponents of fair hiring practices, the New York employment law attorneys at Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC are committed to helping clients facing disputes related to the illegal use of credit reports. We remain diligent in reviewing all changes to New York and federal labor laws in an effort to provide the effective advice you need to combat an illegal use of your credit report.

When can an employer consider my credit history?

There are several specific cases in which an employer may still consider an applicant’s credit history during the hiring process, including situations involving:

  • Positions with local, state or federal government agencies

  • Requirements imposed by a national securities exchange, registered securities association, or registered clearing agency

  • For positions with signatory authority over third-party funds

  • Positions with routine access to trade secrets or classified company data

  • Positions requiring security clearances

It is important to note that employers in these cases must follow guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act when attempting to obtain an applicant’s credit history. The FCRA requires employers to provide advance notice of the intent to run a credit report, and to obtain written consent before obtaining a credit report. Additionally, the FCRA requires employers to provide a copy of the report to the applicant.

What can I do if an employer illegally uses my credit background to deny employment?

If you feel that an employer has denied you employment based solely on your credit history, it is important to take action. Fortunately, you have several options to pursue resolutions, including:

  • Filing a claim: Wronged employees have the right to file a complaint with the New York City Commission of Human Rights, the governing body in charge of upholding the city’s Human Rights Law. By filing a claim, you initiate an investigation by the commission, which may lead to a judgment in your favor. The process of filing a claim must be followed to the letter to convince the commission to review your case.

  • Initiating civil action: Another option for seeking justice is to file a civil lawsuit against the employer in question. Working with a New York employment lawyer to gather the necessary information and litigate your case may improve your chances of recovering damages.

  • Lodging a complaint: Some employers are unaware of the illegal consideration of your credit history. Lodging a formal complaint with the employer may lead to an internal investigation or a reconsideration of your application.

Successfully proving that an employer illegally considered your credit history may result in an award of punitive damages in your favor. A judge may also order the employer to pay your attorney’s fees.

Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a leading New York employment law attorney

With more than 70 years of combined experience, the New York employment law attorneys at Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth have the skill and knowledge needed to help you pursue favorable resolutions in even the most complex cases. Working closely with you, we identify your legal options and aggressively pursue the resolutions you are entitled to. Contact us online or call 212-545-1199 to schedule a free consultation with one of our New York employment lawyers.





Contact an employment law attorney in New York today for a free initial consultation and determine whether you have a case. For a free initial consultation, you can contact us online or by phone.

CALL US TODAY! 212-545-1199