Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced The Equal Employment for All Act yesterday. If passed, the bill would prohibit employers from requiring potential employees to disclose their credit history.
Forty-seven percent of employers currently check job applicants’ credit history as an indicator of their employability, even though research reveals that credit scores are not related to one’s employability. This practice disproportionately affects people who struggle financially, minorities, women, LGBTQ workers, and those who have faced home foreclosures. Moreover, errors in credit reports are common and difficult to correct.
“A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual’s character or abilities,” Warren said in a statement. “Families have not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and too many Americans are still searching for jobs. This is about basic fairness—let people compete on the merits, not on whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills.”
The bill would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to stop employers from asking applicants to disclose their credit history and prohibit employers from disqualifying potential employees based on a poor credit rating [PDF]. It will include some exemptions for positions that require national security clearance.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. M arkey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are co-sponsoring the bill, and over 40 organizations have already endorsed it.
Media Resources: Senator Elizabeth Warren Press 12/17/13; Mother Jones 12/17/13; Feminist Newswire 11/19/13