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.
On August 15, Michael Dell will present a live webinar, "Top 10 Ways Supervisors and Managers Create Legal Risks for Your Workplace Under Federal Law," sponsored by BLR.
On July 11, partner Francine Esposito will present a live webinar, "FMLA Leave Is Exhausted: How to Address Transfer and ADA Accommodation Requests, Fitness-for-Duty Exams, and More," sponsored by BLR.
Heather Weine Brochin and Theresa Kelly authored Employee Privacy Laws: New Jersey, a Q&A guide published by Thomson Reuters Practical Law.
Theresa Kelly and Alba Aviles authored an article, "The Weighty Matter of Obesity in the Workplace," which was published in the May 2019 edition of Employee Benefit Plan Review.
On May 31, Francine Esposito will serve as the moderator and speak on a multi-national panel of attorneys on the topic of "Unions in the Workplace," at the 2019 Lex Mundi Labor and Employee and Employee Benefits and Pension Joint Practice Group Global Meeting in Boston.
Day Pitney Press Release
Gary Betensky and Michael Napoleone were featured in a profile, "Day Pitney LLP: Firm Expands to Better Serve South Florida Clients," published in the March issue of The Boca Raton Observer magazine.
Day Pitney associate Arianna Mouré was featured in an article, "Practicing Law and Contributing to the Greater Good," published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Access Newsletter.
Heather Weine Brochin was quoted in an article, "Confidentiality Disqualifies Harassment Settlement Tax Deductions," published on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website.