On May 6, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act, which bans employers in New York City from using applicants' and employees' credit histories in hiring and employment decisions. City Council members who supported the bill, labor unions, and activist organizations have long argued that reliance on credit checks discriminates against minorities and low-income New Yorkers with poor credit histories, and prevents such individuals from improving their credit status. The law amends the city's Human Rights Law and broadly defines credit history to include credit scores, credit reports, details about credit accounts, late or missed payments, charged-off debts, bankruptcies, judgments, or liens. The city joins 10 states and Chicago in banning employer credit checks. The law takes effect on September 3, 2015.
The law includes a number of carve-outs that allow consideration of credit history in certain situations. Employers may still use credit histories when required by state or federal law; when hiring for certain positions, namely, police officers, peace officers, or positions with a law enforcement or investigative function at the department of investigation; for positions that involve a high level of public trust and are subject to background investigation by the department of investigation; for positions that require the employee to possess security clearance under federal or state law; for positions in which employees are required to be bonded by city, state, or federal law; for positions with signatory authority over assets valued at $10,000 or more; for positions with regular duties that allow the employee to modify digital security systems established to prevent the unauthorized use of the employer's or client's networks or databases; and for nonclerical positions having regular access to national security information, intelligence information or trade secrets.
The law defines "trade secrets" as information that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy; and can reasonably be said to be the end product of significant innovation. According to the law, the term "trade secrets" does not include general proprietary company information, such as handbooks and policies, and the term "regular access to trade secrets" does not include access to or the use of client, customer, or mailing lists.
The legal landscape affecting employers in New York City and New York state has seen many recent changes, and many expect more pro-employee legislation in the coming months. Employers should stay up to date on the law and ensure their compliance with the new requirements.
Day Pitney Alert
Day Pitney Alert
Day Pitney Alert
Heather Weine Brochin and Gregory Tabakman authored an article entitled "Third Circuit Advises that Employer Must Pay Employees for Short Rest Breaks," which was published by the New Jersey Law Journal.
Day Pitney partner Francine Esposito will speak at the upcoming webinar "Workplace Leave Laws: Strategies to Navigate the Changing Landscape in the U.S." Taking place on Sept. 14 at 2 p.m., the webinar is the first in a series of webinars hosted by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) on workplace leave laws around the globe.
John McLafferty was quoted in an article, "Employment Lawyers Leery of Bill Banning NDAs, Arbitration," published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Heather Weine Brochin was quoted in an article, "Confidentiality Disqualifies Harassment Settlement Tax Deductions," published on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website.
John McLafferty was quoted in an article, "How Employers' Haunted House and Fright Night Went Way Wrong," published on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website.
Michael Furey was quoted in an article, "The Biggest New Jersey Cases of 2016," which was published in Law360.
Michael Furey was quoted in an article, "NJ Panel Grills Hospitals Over Discovery In Horizon Row," in Law360. Day Pitney is representing five New Jersey hospitals in a lawsuit against Horizon Healthcare, relating to its new, multi-tiered health plan called OMNIA. Furey advocated on behalf of the five hospitals on Wednesday before a New Jersey appeals court that Horizon should turn over a consultant's report and certain agreements relating to how Horizon categorized hospitals under its controversial OMNIA Alliance program and the impact of OMNIA on the hospitals. These Tier 2 hospitals are alleging various claims, including breach of contract and citing concerns that being ranked in the lower tier of the program will cost them business. Horizon contends the sought-after materials, including a financial analysis, strategic alliance agreements and rate agreements between the insurer and OMNIA network hospitals, contain trade secret and confidential information. "If we're going to prove our hospitals should be Tier 1 alliance members, we need the documents and the information," Furey said.