HR Alert

D.C. Enacts 'Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act'

Law Places Certain Restrictions on Use of Credit Information

A new law in the District of Columbia prohibits certain discrimination based on a prospective or current employee's credit information.

New Law
Under the new law, "credit information" means any written, oral, or other communication of information bearing on an employee's creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, or credit history.

It is an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the following acts, wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based upon (among other things) the actual or perceived credit information of any individual:

  • To discriminate against any individual in admission to or the employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including an on-the-job training program.
  • To print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, any notice or advertisement, or use any publication form, relating to employment by an employer (or to membership in, or any classification or referral for employment by a labor organization, or to any classification or referral for employment by an employment agency), unlawfully indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or distinction, based on (among other things) the credit information of any individual.
  • To directly or indirectly require, request, suggest, or cause any employee to submit credit information, or use, accept, refer to, or inquire into an employee's credit information.
    Note: "Inquire" means any direct or indirect conduct intended to gather credit information using any method, including application forms, interviews, and credit history checks.

It is also an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the above said acts for any reason that would not have been asserted but for, wholly or partially, a discriminatory reason based on (among other things) the actual or perceived credit information of any individual (i.e., subterfuge).

Exceptions
Prohibited acts that otherwise would constitute unlawful discriminatory practices based upon the credit information of an individual under District law do not apply (among other instances):

  • To discriminate against any individual in admission to or the employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including an on-the-job training program.
  • To print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, any notice or advertisement, or use any publication form, relating to employment by an employer (or to membership in, or any classification or referral for employment by a labor organization, or to any classification or referral for employment by an employment agency), unlawfully indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or distinction, based on (among other things) the credit information of any individual.
  • To directly or indirectly require, request, suggest, or cause any employee to submit credit information, or use, accept, refer to, or inquire into an employee's credit information.
    Note: "Inquire" means any direct or indirect conduct intended to gather credit information using any method, including application forms, interviews, and credit history checks.

Additional Information
Also included are certain penalties for violations of the law. The law is expected to take effect following a period of congressional review and publication in the District of Columbia Register.

Click here to read the text of the law.


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