Republican state Rep. Thomas Murt introduced H.B. 2619, which would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to prohibit employers from requesting a credit report from a current employee or an applicant.  The bill, if passed, would make it an unlawful employment practice to require such a report and would allow employees to seek damages in a private action. 

The bill as drafted has very limited exceptions and private employers would only be able to require a credit report if the report is substantially related to the employee's current or potential job or is required by law.  The bill defines "substantially related" to only include the following:

  • a managerial position which involves setting the direction or control of the business;
  • involves access to customers', employees' or the employer's personal or financial information other than information customarily provided in a retail transaction;
  • involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, including the authority to issue payments, transfer money or enter contracts;
  • requires access to confidential or proprietary information that derives value from secrecy;
  • involves regular access to cash totaling $10,000 or more during the work day

As noted from above, the mere fact that an employee handles cash, such as a retail cashier, will not make the credit report substantially related to the employee's job.  If passed, Pennsylvania will join Connecticut and several other states who have already passed similar laws.  (See New Connecticut Law Bans Employers' Use of Credit Reports, 7/18/11).