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Sterling Employment Law

Bill seeks to stop employers from running credit checks

Michigan workers may be interested to hear of proposed legislation that may be introduced in the near future. On Dec. 17, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her desire to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit employers from running credit checks on prospective employees. Warren believes that employer practice of screening employees based on their credit is a veiled way of engaging in workplace discrimination. The bill provides an exception for jobs requiring national security clearance.

Warren claims that credit checks unfairly single out those with limited financial resources, because those are the people who may have trouble meeting unexpected expenses such as medical bills. It is also more difficult for minorities, students, senior citizens and women to recover from illness, death or divorce. There is no evidence of any correlation between a person's credit rating and ability to perform a job. Warren also pointed out that when the wealthy divorce, their credit ratings typically do not take the same hit as the poor.

It was not stated when the bill will be up for consideration. In addition to Warren, six other Democratic senators co-sponsored the bill. It is anticipated that business groups and the Republican legislators will oppose the bill. These groups typically oppose restrictions or government regulation on employers. Warren has acknowledged the difficulty of passing the bill in a divided Congress, but hopes to obtain votes from across the aisle.

Workplace discrimination is illegal. Any person who has been terminated, demoted or otherwise suffered negative consequences at work due to that person's status as a member of a protected class may wish to consult with an attorney who has experience in employment law matters.

Source: seattlepi.com, "Warren: Bill would bar credit checks by employers", December 17, 2013

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