Credit Histories of Job Seekers
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a public meeting to discuss the use of credit histories for screening potential employees. A hearing is one of many first steps a federal agency can take in the process of creating federal regulations.
Currently, the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows for the disclosure of credit reports for employment purposes (see 15 U.S.C. §1681b). However, many organizations are speaking out against this practice.
At the EEOC's public meeting, representatives from civic organizations and the legal community presented their arguments against the use of credit histories when screening job applicants. Sarah Crawford from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated "credit checks create an unnecessary obstacle for those seeking gainful employment."
The National Consumer Law Center is also concerned with the use of credit histories by employers. In addition to speaking at the EEOC public meeting, the NCLC has also testified before the U.S. Subcommittee on Financial institutions and Consumer Credit earlier this year in support of H.R. 3149: Equal Opportunity for All Act. This resolution, still pending in the U.S. House of Representatives, would amend 15 U.S.C. §1681 to prohibit the use of credit histories for employment purposes.
For more information on credit reports, check out these resources:
- The National Consumer Law Center has several consumer publications online, including What You Should Know About Your Credit Report and Understanding Credit Scores.
- The Federal Trade Commission has information on Employment Background Checks and Credit Reports. This explains what procedures an employer must follow if they are seeking a potential employee's credit report.