On December 14, 2015, the New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee released another bill—A2298—seeking to prohibit most credit checks on employees. Essentially the same as prior bills that failed in the New Jersey legislature (includingthose we reported on in 2010 and in 2012), A2298 would prohibit employers from obtaining a credit report, or requiring an employee or prospective employee to consent to provide a credit report unless (a) the employer was required by law to obtain one, or (b) the employer reasonably believed that the employee had engaged in a specific activity that was financial in nature and constituted a violation of law.

Beyond that, the bill would only allow an employer to obtain a credit report if credit history was to be a bona fide occupational qualification for a particular position, such as (i) a managerial position involving the financial direction or control of the business; (ii) a position involving access to customers’ or employees’ personal belongings or financial assets (other than routine retail transactions); (iii) a position involving fiduciary responsibility to the employer; (iv) a position that  has an expense account for travel; or (v)  law enforcement personnel or governmental or non-governmental security personnel.

The bill would allow civil suits for violations of its provisions providing for compensatory and consequential damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees, as well as civil penalties not to exceed $2,000 for a first violation and $5,000 for each subsequent violation.