Phila. Jobs Group Sees Hope in NYC Credit-Check Legislation, Urges Similar Action Here

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CBS Philly

April 20, 2015 – By Mike Dunn

John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. File photo by KYW’s Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia group that advocates for the unemployed is hoping that local lawmakers steal an idea from the Big Apple:  New York’s city council has passed a law that stops employers from running credit checks on potential hires or current workers.

John Dodds, head of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, notes that many who were laid off during the recession got into credit problems, which comes back to haunt them when they apply for jobs.

“It’s like a Catch-22,” he says.  “Your credit gets bad because you’re out of work.  And they won’t hire you because your credit is bad.  It just makes no sense.”

So, Dodds was thrilled to learn of last week’s vote by the New York City Council, which approved a bill that stops most employers from running credit checks on those seeking work.  And he hopes this is mirrored in Philadelphia.

“If New York did it, I think Philadelphia ought to do the same,” Dodds tells KYW Newsradio.  “Most of the time, people get into those fixes because of the economics that are beyond their control.  So it’s important that (bad credit) not cost them jobs, because it just reinforces where they’re already in trouble.”

The New York measure now goes to Mayor Bill DeBlasio, and sponsors there are optimistic he’ll sign it.   It does allow credit checks for jobs that involve security, finance, or where required by federal or state law.

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