NYC battle: can employers consider job applicants’ credit records?

Sometimes, when food choices are not involved, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is actually on the right side of controversies. One instance of that is the series of battles he’s having with the New York City Council on various bills to regulate employers. The Council recently overrode his veto of a bill creating unemployment status as a new protected class, and has pressed a paid-sick-leave bill as well. A third proposal: forbidding employers to consider job applicants’ credit records in hiring. Eight liberal-leaning states have already enacted similar measures but as the Proskauer Rose law firm explains, the NYC proposal goes further:

Unlike the vast majority of laws in effect and in legislation pending across the nation, however, the Proposal does not explicitly enumerate exceptions for managerial positions, or positions with access to bank or credit card information, Social Security numbers, significant amounts of cash, or confidential or proprietary information. Although the Proposal exempts employers required by law to run credit checks on their applicants and employees, its silence as to these other standard exceptions should give New York City employers particular pause should the Proposal become law.


  • Hey! There’s an easy fix to this. The city just has to self-insure against any untoward actions undertaken by those members of classes it chooses to protect for employment purposes. It only involves free — that is, government — money, after all.

    Better, though, would be to make the Mayor and all members of the city council personal liable for the consequences of their deliberative preferences.

  • I suspect that in the case of Bloomberg, it is a matter of whose ox is being gored. Food restrictions on the pleasures of ordinary (not extremely wealthy) Americans don’t affect his life. With or without a law, I just don’t see him getting a large soft drink at McDonalds. He lives in NYC, doesn’t hunt, and can afford private security, so gun restrictions don’t affect him. However, restrictions on how businesses can operate do affect him and his Wall Street buddies, so suddenly, he discovers his inner Libertarian.