The Mayor of Philadelphia signed a bill restricting the use of an applicant or employee’s credit history for employment purposes. Philadelphia joins the growing list of jurisdictions that have enacted similar laws: California, Chicago, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York City, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. This legislation goes into effect on July 7, 2016.
According to the Ordinance:
It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer – both public and private – to procure, to seek a person’s cooperation or consent to procure, or to use credit information regarding an employee or applicant in connection with hiring, discharge, tenure, promotion, discipline, or consideration of any other term, condition or privilege of employment with respect to such employee or applicant.
If an employer relies, in whole or in part, on credit information to consider adverse employment action with respect to any person, and exemption (4), (5), (6), (7) or (8) applies, the employer:
The ordinance provides aggrieved persons with the right to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations or, after timely exhausting administrative remedies, to pursue a private right of action to recover the full panoply of damages available under the Fair Practices Ordinance, which includes compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
Employers in Philadelphia that use credit reports or other credit information for employment purposes should consult with their employment attorney to ensure compliance. Multi-state employers should review their practices to ensure that they comply with both this ordinance and the laws of the other jurisdictions that now regulate employers’ use of credit information.
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