Known as a fierce consumer advocate, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced legislation which would remove credit history as a criteria in assessing job applicants. The legislation is picking up steam in the Senate and supporters are gearing up for a battle with the House of Representatives, if it is to gain approval and become law.
Titled The Equal Employment for All Act the bill aims to level the playing field for applicant’s whose credit history has greatly reduced their possibility of getting hired or being selected for a promotion.
The U.S. economy is coming off the worse depression that most living American’s have encountered. Millions were caught by an economy that had spiraled out of control. Layoffs, loss of employment as well as loss of revenues crippled many. Homes, businesses and other assets were lost or greatly minimized. Struggling to stay afloat many simply went into survival mode and their credit worthiness was compromised. The result is while the recovery has been steady, rehabilitating one’s credit is not an overnight sensation. Consequently as opportunities have opened employers are using traditional guidelines in rating prospective candidates. Those who embrace using credit as a criteria point to the fact the credit parallels with integrity and honesty.
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," Senator Warren said. "Families have not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and too many Americans are still searching for jobs.
Warren’s bill recognizes credit is an important factor in certain assessments, however since the rescission was unique and one of those rare instances, it advocates for employers to focus on experience and other value-oriented measures in assessing whether a prospect is a possible match. Additionally the bill does not suggest employers blindly embrace those with credit deficiencies, but merely weigh more tangible evidence in determining the plight of a candidate. Warren pointed to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission to support her claims.
In addition to being supported by a host of political leaders and over 40 organizations, the legislation is the first volley. Given the partisan gridlock that had stalled legislative progress, the recent bi-partisan budget that was recently passed might be the glimmer of hope needed for the bill to gain support and actually help those who are currently blocked by their credit circumstance.