Prospective employers would be barred from requesting access to the social media accounts and credit histories of job seekers under two bills approved Monday by the state Assembly.
Both measures face an uncertain future in the state Senate.
But the bills, backed by Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz of the Bronx, are meant to address inequities in hiring he says should have no influence on whether a person is offered a job or not.
In many caases, seeking private information of workers as a condition for obtaining a job or promotion could perpetuate discrimination in the workplace, Dinowitz said. And both bills address a growing trend in workplaces in recent years to obtain private information of workers or future employees.
Prospective employers over the last decade have increasingly sought access to the social media accounts of potential hires, including passwords and email accounts, which Dinowitz said could result in unfair hiring practices.
Meanwhile, the Assembly also backed a bill that would bar the use of credit histories in employment, which has become more common in the wake of the 2008 recession.
Credit histories and ratings could once again suffer amid high unemployment due to the economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Credit histories are notoriously problematic, with many consumers having errors on their reports that they do not even know exist," Dinowitz said.
"Furthermore, there are many reasons why some people have accumulated debt or poor credit – whether it was a medical expense that they couldn’t afford or a downturn in the economy that saddled them with a mortgage they could no longer afford. These disparities in credit history disproportionately affect certain demographic groups, and it is abhorrent to perpetuate a system that enables discrimination against people trying to get their lives together."
Both measures have been taken up in the Assembly and approved in prior session, but are yet to gain a vote in the state Senate.
Lawmakers are meeting this week in Albany (and virtually) to approve a series of bills that were yet to gain a vote this year.