On May 6, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Intro. 261, the “Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act.” He was joined by City Councilmember Brad Lander, the lead bill sponsor, and members of the NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment. The Retail Action Project (RAP) is a part of this coalition of over 75 labor, community, civil rights, and student organizations.
The act was widely supported, passing the City Council with 47 voting in favor, and 3 opposed. The New York legislation is one of the strongest in the country against the use of credit check discrimination in employment, as it lacks broad exemptions.
RAP member Onieka O’Kieffe spoke at the signing. “After leaving college due to the overwhelming cost and massive student loans, I started working in retail to help support my family and applied for a full-time managerial position at a large department store, a position for which I was more than qualified. After being told that there would be a credit check during the interview, and eventually hearing that the store went with another applicant, the store suggested I apply for a part-time non-managerial position. This felt like a slap in the face; I realized the fact that I had a lot of student debt showing up on my credit report might have been used against me. With my work history and demonstrated responsibility on the job, I was more than qualified for the original position. My credit report does not represent who I am, and what I’m capable of as a worker. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this bill that will assist New Yorkers who are struggling with debt.”