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| Credit and Financial Checks
January 31 2017

D.C. Bill Protects Job Applicants ' Credit Histories

Washington, D.C., has joined 11 states, New York City and Chicago in an effort to prevent employers from conducting credit history screens for job applicants.

The D.C. Council Judiciary Committee unanimously passed The Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act, which amends the city 's Human Rights Act of 1977 to include "credit information" as a protected trait.

Employers found to be in violation could face up to $5,000 in fines. There is a catch, though. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act permits employers to request credit reports of job applicants after first obtaining written permission from the individual being screened.

The Act also requires employers to provide notification before taking adverse action. Some continue to argue that screening credit information strengthens fraud prevention, an issue that remains up for debate.