Did You Know That Potential Employers Check Your Credit?

Photo Jennifer Graylock/ Getty Images
Race discrimination, gender discrimination, and weight discrimination — these are all workplace problems that we're constantly dealing with. But have you ever heard of a potential employer passing someone over because of bad credit? Apparently it happens more frequently than we realize.

In a new op-ed published in Time, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee argue that performing consumer credit checks on prospective applicants isn't just unfair — it's straight up discrimination. They've re-introduced legislation called the Equal Employment for All Act to stop companies from imposing credit history requirements on potential employees, with exceptions for positions where it is required by law.

What's so wrong with credit reports? "This is one more way the game is rigged. A wealthy person who loses a job, gets divorced or faces a family illness is unlikely to get tangled up in debt or suffer from bad credit," they write. "But for millions of working families, a hard personal blow often turns into a hard financial blow with repercussions that follow the family for years."

Furthermore, credit reports aren't always accurate (as anyone who has had their identity stolen knows), and updating an incorrect report takes much longer than expected. Plus, African Americans, Latinos, and seniors are more likely to be effected by such practices, they argue, so the bill would help alleviate discrimination against those groups in the workforce.

As Warren and Cohen conclude:

"No one should be denied the chance to compete for a job because of a credit report that bears no relationship to job performance and that can be riddled with inaccuracies. Our Equal Employment for All Act would make sure all hardworking Americans have a real shot to get back into the workforce and back on their feet."

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