Ban Employer Credit Checks In All States

Employers weren’t always allowed to invade an applicant’s privacy, requiring a credit check in order to get a job.

Now that so many have bad credit due to the economy or personal hardship, it’s downright oppressive to expect them to divulge information likely to deny them jobs they so desperately need. 

Although applicants aren’t “forced” to allow credit checks, if they don’t, they can’t even apply at some companies. And if they do, bad credit often automatically excludes them from consideration.

In effect, it’s a Catch-22, further punishing those already victimized by a system that rewards the wealthy, regardless of their failed or corrupt business practices.

A few states have limited this practice, but others considering it are facing fierce opposition from the GOP and chambers of commerce. There needs to be a federal law. Tell Congress that hiring based on credit information is discrimination that should be banned.

We, the undersigned, request the federal government step in and put an end to the oppression and discrimination of employer credit checks.

Although Democrat representatives in a number of states are trying to end this invasive, unfair practice that often targets victims of the current economic crisis or health emergencies, Republicans, working with business and Chamber of Commerce lobbies are blocking attempts at reform.

Inc. Magazine says “A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 60 percent of employers asked said they run credit checks on at least some job applicants. That's up from almost 43 percent in a similar 2006 survey.”

So, this invasion of privacy that restricts employment has become even more prevalent as the majority has born the brunt of ill effects of an economic crash caused by corrupt predatory business practices. If anything, restrictions on hiring should be relaxed under such circumstances beyond the majority‘s control. 

Opponents of this practice, like Wisconsin Rep. Kim Hixton, Maryland Rep. Kirill Reznik and chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Stuart Ishimaru, told Inc. it’s unnecessary and discriminatory.

Hixton said: "We have a lot of people who by no fault of their own are out of jobs and are still needing to make payments. If they can't get a job due to a credit report that could be bad due to being unemployed, it's a vicious cycle." Some employers claim a person’s credit report reflects their character, and others claim a bad report is a sign a person will steal. But that’s just not always the case, says Hixton, and to assume so is discrimination.

Resnik says although his legislation is getting “tough opposition from state business leaders and chambers of commerce,” there’s no better time for it than now, because of record unemployment. "The only way to turn this back around is to get people back to work." (Inc. Magazine

With Colorado Republicans vetoing legislation to limit the practice there and TN Rep. Steve Cohen's bill “trapped in committee,” states' attempts at reform have clearly been too slow and too often blocked by special interests. Though Ishimaru of EEOC is opposed to the practice, a phone call reveals that EEOC does not regulate this form of discrimination, even if law prohibits it. Neither does the US Department of Labor or even the Dept of Labor in Washington State, for example, where law supposedly limits this discrimination, have anything to do with enforcing such laws (my personal calls to US Dept of Labor Office of Secretary Hilda Solis and Washington State Dept of Labor representative Amy - last name withheld).

It is time for Congress to step in and put an end to this discriminatory and unnecessary practice, and make sure any laws passed are enforced.

Thank you for your consideration of these concerns.

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