On March 13, 2014, the New Hampshire Senate voted to limit the use of credit checks in hiring and personnel decisions. The legislation (SB 295) is not solely prohibitive, as an employer may consider credit history where otherwise required under state or federal law, or where there is a bona fide purpose that is substantially related to the individual’s current or prospective employment. Interesting enough, the bill also makes an exception for employers who reasonably believe that the lack of access to an applicant’s credit history may adversely impact the employer’s business, or the welfare of employees or other individuals associated with the business. In addition, the bill exempts state/local government agencies and certain banking institutions.
Should SB 295 become law, New Hampshire will join ten other states—California, Maryland, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Colorado, and Nevada—and at least two localities—Chicago (IL) and Madison (WI)—that have restricted the use of credit checks for purposes of employment. The U.S. Congress and a number of other states and localities also are considering comparable legislation. Stay tuned for further developments.