Credit Based Discrimination
Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are Long Island credit discrimination lawyers representing clients who have been the victims of credit discrimination. Credit discrimination generally comes up in one of two contexts: consumer credit discrimination when applying for credit, or an adverse employment action due to poor credit history. The lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are experienced in handling all types of credit discrimination cases.The Equal Credit Opportunity Act
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a federal law originally enacted in 1974 in response to discriminatory acts by credit card companies and mortgage lenders toward women and minorities. The overall purpose of the ECOA is to require financial and other similar institutions engaged in extending credit to consumers to make credit equally available to all creditworthy consumers. Common examples of institutions bound and regulated by the ECOA includes banks, credit card companies, and mortgage lenders.
More specifically, the ECOA makes it illegal for financial institutions and other firms extending credit to discriminate against a consumer on the basis of: 1) race, color, religion, national origin, sex or marital status, or age (provided the consumer has lawful capacity to enter into a contract, or is at least 18 years old); 2) all or part of the applicant's income derives from any public assistance program; or 3) the applicant has in good faith exercised a right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which is the overarching federal law related to consumer protection that has been further fleshed out by subsequent laws, included the ECOA. The protections provided under the ECOA extend to all aspects of an applicant's interactions with the financial institution, including, for example, applying for a new credit card, or seeking an extension of an existing line of credit.
Credit discrimination in violation of the ECOA may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including refusal of credit when you know you qualify, receiving a higher interest rate than you otherwise should, or, in extreme cases, a lender making derogatory comments about your race, gender, national origin, or other protected category status. If you believe you have may have been discriminated against in applying for credit in violation of the ECOA, contact the Credit Discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC today.Employment Discrimination Based on Credit History
Generally speaking, employers are allowed to check a potential or current employee's credit history and then make an adverse employment decision (i.e. the decision to either hire or fire the person) based on the results of the credit report. There are some limitations on this general rule, however, and employers must follow certain procedures when checking an individual's credit history. These limitations are outlined in the federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
First, the FCRA requires that an employer obtain written permission from an individual before checking his or her credit history. Next, after checking an individual's credit report, employers must notify that person before taking an adverse employment action against them based on the results of the credit check. The employer must also provide the individual with a copy of the report and allow them a short period of time to dispute any errors in the report before taking the adverse employment action.
New York State has its own law on procedures that must be followed by an employer when checking one's credit history, which generally mirrors the language of the FCRA. New York City law, on the other hand, provides additional protections to potential and current employees not included under federal or state law.
Under the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act (SCDEA), which is an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, it is illegal for an employer to request or use an individual's credit history for the purposes of making any employment decision, subject to eight very limited exceptions mostly related to federal investigations or government positions requiring security clearance. Violations of the SCDEA carry significant penalties for the employer, in addition to other money damages that may be available to the individual who was discriminated against under the SCDEA.
The Credit Discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are well versed in all facets of credit discrimination cases. Whether in the context of a financial institution refusing to grant or extend credit, or an employer's unlawful or discriminatory conduct under the FCRA or the SCDEA, the Credit Discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC can help.