Saturday, February 5, 2011

Should Credit Checks Be Part of Hiring Process?

Although the economy is on the rise, there are still millions of people who have been out of work for a significant period of time (at least 6.4 million have been out of work for six months or more). While this obviously can cause them to have some financial difficulties, it could also potentially cause some harm in their search for a new job. That's because it not only means they have a big gap in their employment history, but it also might do some damage to their credit report. It's largely with this in mind that Maryland State Delegate Kirill Reznik (D-Germantown) introduced a bill (HB 87, the Job Applicant Fairness Act) yesterday that would prevent almost all Maryland employers from using a credit report as a determining factor in determining employment decisions.

Reznik told the Huffington Post that the bill isn't designed to save the "CFOs or the folks involved in dealing with the companies' millions of dollars." Instead, it's supposed to help "blue-collar workers having trouble making ends meet." He continued by pointing out that "having bad credit does not make someone a bad person" and highlighted how poor credit could easily result from things such as "costly medical problems, a messy divorce, and many other understandable reasons."

Now there could be some opposition to this bill from the business community, especially from those who are run the credit checks and the credit reporting agencies. Reznik says that's what happened last year when he introduced the bill and it failed to pass. With so many people facing long-term unemployment, however, he says that the bill has so much more momentum this year and has a good chance of passing.

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