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February 2017 - Washington DC the Latest Jurisdiction to Restrict the Use of Credit Screening by Employers

On February 15, 2017, the “Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act of 2016” (A21-0673) was signed into law and will become effective March 17, 2017, after a mandatory 30 day congressional review. No changes are anticipated to the Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and current employees based on their credit information. 

The new law makes it unlawful for an employer to directly or indirectly inquire into an applicant’s or employee’s credit information. The Act does permit D.C. employers to inquire into and obtain an applicant’s or employee’s credit information in certain limited circumstances, including:

  1. Where the employer is required by existing D.C. law to ask for credit information;
  2. Where an employee is applying or working in law enforcement within the District;
  3. Where the employee is required to possess a security clearance under D.C. law;
  4. Financial institutions if the position involves “access to personal financial information”; and
  5. Where an employer requests or receives credit information by way of a “lawful subpoena, court order, or law enforcement investigation.”

An individual may file a complaint with the District's Office of Human Rights, which is charged with investigating alleged violations of the Act.  Fines are $1,000 for the first violation, $2,500 for the second violation, and $5,000 for each subsequent violation.

Click here to read A21-0673