Who is protected?
For credit discrimination to be illegal in Fairfax County, it must be based on someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability.
It is important to know that it is also illegal to discriminate against someone because they have opposed illegal discrimination, filed a complaint, or assisted in an investigation. This is called retaliation, and the law protects those who oppose illegal behavior.
Examples of discriminatory actions:
A few examples of illegal discrimination with respect to credit are:
- a savings and loan company refuses to grant a loan or discourages a qualified applicant from apply for a loan because of the applicant’s race.
- a finance company imposes different terms or conditions, like a higher interest rate or higher fees, on a loan based on an applicant’s religion or national origin.
- an underwriter refuses to guarantee a loan because of an applicant’s sex.
- a credit union considers an applicant’s national origin. Please note that a creditor may consider immigration status and whether the applicant has the right to stay in the country long enough to repay the debt.
- a bank asks about an applicant’s marital status when the applicant is applying for a separate, unsecured account.