Scenario: Harry (name changed) ran a successful business before the downturn in the economy caught up with him. He was faced with a situation of a bunch of dues ranging from overblown credit card dues to home mortgage to car payments, etc.
Next, Harry started looking for a job. A graduate with multiple skills; all he needed was to combine his transferable skills and finding a job was a non issue – so he thought.
Then came the road block - his credit score stopped him from getting some jobs that were within his reach. Some of his potential employers checked his credit reports and based on his current status would not consider him. Does a bad credit score really make him a bad employee?
A credit check was primarily instituted to insure one’s ability and track record in repaying loans. It was not meant to be involved in any manner whatsoever in one’s employment search.
That’s the question being explored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces laws that prohibit discrimination against workers based on race, religion, gender, age, or disability.
**“SHRM believes there is a compelling public interest in ensuring that employers can assess the skills, abilities and work habits of potential hires,” Christine Walters, a human resource professional and lawyer, told the EEOC. She appeared before the October meeting of the commission on behalf of the 250,000-member SHRM.
SHRM’s latest comments on the practice of conducting credit investigations for some job applicants come in response to an idea that was floated at an Oct. 20, 2010, EEOC hearing. It was suggested that the answers to these three questions from a former employer would obviate the need for credit checks:
SHRM said that using just these three questions would raise “practical and legal issues.”
In a Dec. 3, 2010 letter from the SHRM Director of Government Affairs Michael P. Aitken said, “asking previous employers the three suggested questions is not a realistic substitute for employer use of other available information, including credit reports.”
*In defending employers’ use of credit checks as part of the hiring process, Eric Rosenberg of the TransUnion credit bureau paints a sobering picture. Retailers lose more than $30 billion a year because of employee theft, he says. Workplace violence costs employers $55 million a year in lost wages. A third of employees provide bogus information on their résumés.
Even Eric Rosenberg, admitted at a legislative hearing in Oregon: “At this point we don’t have any research to show any statistical correlation between what’s in somebody’s credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud.”
As a friend mentioned – most of the folks on Wall Street had a great credit score; what happened? Mere financial challenge of an individual should not allow one to lay aspersions on one’s integrity. There is no correlation between the two.
For most jobs, your credit score is not an important qualification. That's why states are starting to crack down on companies who use credit checks to screen applicants. Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon and Washington have all banned the practice. I understand 15 states are moving aggressively for a similar ban. Probably, this is the right time for you to write to your Representatives and ask them to ban such a check in your state.
It is important for a ban of this practice at a federal level to insure wrongful discrimination. Each day means many jobs lost for persons already hit by a bad economy.
Source: * NY Times ** SHRM Online
Please conduct further research for this and other career related information
"WHAT NEXT" is provided by Ramesh Anand, President, American Personnel Resources LLC.
He can be contacted at: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org