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Proposed Bill Would Ban Credit Checks In Hiring, Firing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - New York City Council members are considering a bill that would prevent companies from using credit checks in employment decisions.

The bill's chief sponsor, Councilman Brad Lander, said Friday that job seekers should be judged by their qualifications, not by whether they have enough money to pay their bills.

Lander spoke at a hearing of the Council's Civil Rights Committee and said it's discriminatory against those trying to get out of debt.

"More than anything else, these people need to get jobs to be able to pay their bills," he said.

Backers of the bill said the use of credit checks discriminates against job seekers whose credit has suffered because of student loans, medical debt or foreclosures.

It's a vicious cycle for many people in debt, like Onieka O'Kieffe, who is saddled with college loan debt and was turned down for a job at a department store because of her bad credit score.

"They suggested I apply for a part-time, non-managerial position, which paid much less than the one I applied for," O'Kieffe told WCBS 880's Monica Miller.

Proposed Bill Would Ban Credit Checks In Hiring, Firing

"While employers cite fraud and integrity most frequently as their reason for conducting credit checks, there's simply no evidence for this," he said.

Lander introduced the bill last year but it did not pass. Forty of the current 51 Council members are sponsors this time.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's counsel, Maya Wiley, told the committee the mayor supports the legislation but may favor some exemptions.

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