Sen. Elizabeth Warren Introduces Bill to Prohibit Companies from Running Credit Checks on Job Candidates

December 17, 2013 | | The Republican |

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their credit history.

In a conference call with reporters, Warren argued that a person's poor credit history is often the result of medical bills, job loss or divorce and does not reflect his ability to perform a job.

"This act is about basic fairness. Let people compete for jobs on the merits, not on whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills," Warren said. "Research has shown an individual's credit rating has little to no correlation with his or her ability to succeed in the workplace." [...]

Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst with Demos, a public policy organization that works to reduce economic and political inequality, which arranged the conference call with Warren, said there is a range of jobs in which employers use credit checks, and bad credit should not disqualify applicants. "If you lost a job, had steep medical bills because of a child's emergency, went into debt to start a business and it didn’t work out, we don’t believe in America that those setbacks should sink you forever," Traub said.

Bill supporters say errors in credit reports are common and hard to correct. A 2013 Federal Trade Commission study found that one in five consumers could identify an error on their credit report, although only 5 percent of consumers had errors that would affect their credit scores.

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