Employment Credit Checks Under Congressional Attack
Employment Credit Checks Widespread
Employment credit checks are justifiable when it comes to jobs that require being trusted with large amounts of money for obvious reasons. Jobs requiring security clearance might also be included in the category where this practice is a necessity as opposed to an annoying intrusion invading the privacy of the applicant. Low credit scores uncovered by employment credit checks are sometimes unfairly used as a measure of a person’s overall character. Studies have shown repeatedly that a credit score is not in and of itself a reliable barometer of a person’s character and moral fitness. Many people have low credit scores because of personal generosity. Large medical bills can cripple credit scores through no fault of the person who suffered medical disaster. Job outsourcing and economic contraction have left many good people on the edge of financial distress as a way of life.
Employment Credit Checks May be Limited by New Law
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and 6 other Senators, all Democrats, have introduced a bill into Congress that would severely limit the use of employment credit checks as hiring criteria. The bill, The Equal Employment for All Act, would create a Federal ban on employment credit checks. An exemption would be applied for positions requiring national security clearance. Approximately 1 in 10 applicants have been denied employment on the basis of a credit check. 47 per cent of employers use credit checks as part of their screening process.
The Fair Credit Reporting and Improvement Act of 2014 being introduced into the House by Representative Maxine Waters contains a provision forbidding employment discrimination through the use of credit checks. Credit Reporting Agencies claim they do not report the credit scores to Employers. They do report the information in the reports.
Long Term Unemployed Would be Helped by Curb on Employment Credit Checks
The use of employment credit checks places an unfair burden on the long term unemployed. Of course your credit score is going to take bad hits if a long period of time without working stretches on and on. The vicious circle has no end. The impact on students with burdensome student loans, minorities, women and displaced older people is especially hard. Many job applicants with unpaid bills are every bit as qualified as those who may have not yet had to go through a bad patch. You can be sure they will be very grateful to have a decent job to pay those bills.
But Does a Bill Banning Employment Credit Checks Have Any Chance of Passing?
The Washington Post reports that this bill has no Republican support in the Senate. Realistically this bill must be considered a long shot. At least it’s a beginning to step forward to correct this great injustice. On the positive side 10 States have banned employment credit checks in the last 3 years.