Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Equal Employment for All Act would ban most credit report use in ordinary employment

The Equal Employment for All Act of 2013. HR 645,  would make it illegal in many jobs for employers to use credit reports (including “investigate consumer reports”) to deny employment to applicants in jobs except those requiring security clearances, jobs with certain government agencies, or managerial positions in financial institutions.  The Congress link for the bill is here. It was introduced by Steve Cohen (D-TN) in Feb. 2013.
CNN Money has a story on the bill by Blake Ellis today here. The practice of employer credit checks when not relevant to a job is thought to perpetuate unemployment, especially for the long term unemployed who are caught in a vicious circle.
Further, many credit reports have inaccurate information because of identity theft of simply reporting errors.  In the past, many employers have viewed associates as having absolute responsibility for their own credit history.
In the 1980’s Chilton Credit Reporting in Dallas required a credit check of everyone working there.  No problems turned up for me, but in 2000, a questionable debt for an expired credit card (from 1980) showed up with a company that bought bad debt.  When Chilton was purchased by TRW in 1989, the requirement that employees pass a credit check was stopped.
Some observers note that employers use credit checks to verify previous employment or addresses.
Will employers instead heighten their concern over “online reputation”?  Even that can easily fall to mistaken identity.  

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