Credit Checks = Legal Discrimination for Employers
You might think employers want to stay as far away from discriminating practices as possible. What you don’t know is that many are using a legal strategy by which to discriminate, often times unfairly. I’m talking about credit checks in the hiring process. Many employers have begun using this as a way of determining someone’s “reliability” or worthiness before making an offer of employment. What’s wrong with this picture?
–verb (used without object)
1. make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality.
–verb (used with object)
2. to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate.
Since employers are using credit checks to separate classes of people, by definition it’s discrimination. It’s legal and it’s an ugly practice, especially in a time of economic turmoil and record numbers of home foreclosures. This type of hiring practice not only perpetuates discrimination but it further injures our economic recovery as a nation. There are so many still unemployed that there was recently another extension on unemployment benefits for those that have exhausted theirs. During that time of receiving unemployment, do you think those people were able to keep up with their credit card payments? Now they face losing job opportunities for making the choice to feed their families instead of maintain their credit score.
Since when did hiring someone to do a job have anything to do with their credit? Since when did hiring someone have anything to do with anything other than their qualifications and abilities? Now more than ever, employers continue to use this form of discrimination as a way to narrow the pool of candidates. There’s only one problem with this type of competition – it leaves the most unfortunate victims of the economy out of the game altogether. I find HUGE fault with eliminating a hard working and qualified candidate because their house is in foreclosure or they haven’t been able to keep up with credit card payments. First penalized by the economy, now penalized by employers. How is the workforce supposed to recover? We should be questioning laws that allow any kind of discrimination in the work force. Employers need to get their heads out of the clouds and start looking at people instead of credit reports and numbers. I don’t care what some psychologist says about credit being a basis for knowing if someone is reliable or trustworthy. I don’t care what your CFO says about keeping hiring costs/risks down – discrimination is discrimination. Spade. The end. Is that really the picture you want to paint of your organization? “Oh, we’re a really great company to work for – as long as you have good credit!” This is the real world, perhaps you should join us.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re a job seeker:
1. Employers can legally request permission to run a credit check on you.
2. Employers are REQUIRED to get your signature on a permission form to do so. This could be on a job application too, so READ CAREFULLY what you are signing!
3. The credit check isn’t detailed, but gives the employer your credit score and # of delinquent accounts.
4. Get a copy of your own credit report. Being proactive about your credit is a better approach than being reactive.
There are a lot of ways employers can silently discriminate against you but this is by far the most widespread and legal way it’s done. Now, tell me your thoughts on how we can fix this….
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