Credit checks by potential employers should be illegal

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Ethyl, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Ethyl

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    !. It's an invasion of privacy.

    2. The main reason it's done is to determine if you're responsible with money. But, as we all know, people go into debt for many reasons: catastrophic illness that health insurance won't cover, divorce (me), being laid off from work, victim of internet or other fraudulent activity - none of these reasons show on a credit check. All it shows is that you owe someone money. It doesn't show if you've made arrangements to pay or if you're waiting for money from another source in order to pay the debt. All it takes is one run of bad luck.

    3. If you refuse to consent to a credit check, then you might as well walk out the door because the employer thinks you have something to hide.

    4. Employers mistakenly think that a clean credit report ensures against theft or embezzlement. Unless you're an accountant or applying for work in finance, there's no reason to think someone with less spotty credit will show more character, better judgment, or is more trustworthy than someone with a score of 760. I'd wager Arthur Anderson from Enron had an impeccable credit score.

    5. Employers are required by law (in the US)to inform the applicant if they've decided not to offer them the position based on the credit check. They conveniently skip this part as i'm discovering for myself. The last few companies I've interviewed with asked for credit checks. I said yes each time and even took the time to explain my debt situation to one potential employer. They made it clear they were very interested in me and I've gone back for second interviews. The last second interview I was told they would schedule me to start in two weeks. I've called them twice and they haven't returned my calls. I'm fairly certain it's because they checked my credit and despite my discussion with the general manager about my debt and how I planned to repay it, they decided against hiring me.

    Three years ago, I would've had my choice of any of the last few positions I applied for. Now they won't touch me. Even the staffing agency I spoke with today asked me if I could provide proof that my debt was due to divorce. WTF?

    I don't get it. I'm educated and experienced in my field and it means absolutely nothing now.

    Oh, well. Next time the gov't wants something from me, I'll just tell them "I'm sorry, you have a $9 trillion dollar debt therefore I cannot in good conscience recognize your plea".
    *Sigh*
     
  2. Principessa

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    :biggrin1: Good luck with that.
     
  3. IntoxicatingToxin

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    I agree, mb. That sucks horribly. My father also told me that companies assume that people who have good credit are generally more responsible than those that do not. Bleh. What if we weren't at one point, but are now?!

    Oh well. Good luck to you. (And good luck at telling off the government!)
     
  4. Osiris

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    That SUCKS Bliss. I think it is a total invasion of privacy and almost discrimanatory. There are so many things that can happen. Like you said divorce, ID theft, student loans, joint account with someone fiscally irresponsible. It's ridiculous. Any company that would reject you based on that isn't worthy of you, screw 'em in the ear.

    I know numerous financial wizards who couldn't balance their own checkbook to save their lives, but the company finances they managed were top of the field.

    I got this emailed to me a few days ago, I think it fits:


    NBA OR NFL?





    Read on....

    36

    have been accused of spousal abuse



    7

    have been arrested for fraud


    19

    have been accused of writing bad checks



    117

    have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses



    3

    have done time for assault



    71,
    repeat
    71

    cannot get a credit card due to bad credit


    14

    have been arrested on drug-related charges


    8

    have been arrested for shoplifting


    21
    currently

    are defendants in lawsuits, and


    84

    have been arrested for drunk driving

    in the last year


    Can you guess which organization this is?




    NBA or NFL?

    Give up yet? ... Scroll down,





    Neither,
    it's the 535
    members of the United States Congress.

    The
    same group of Idiots that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line

    AND THEY JUST VOTED THEMSELVES $15,000 PER MONTH PENSION FOR LIFE AFTER SERVING ONLY ONE TERM IN CONGRESS!




    Doesn't that make you enjoy paying taxes?
     
  5. ManlyBanisters

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    :confused: Surely someone in debt is more likely to put up with shit to keep the job in order to pay back their debts. That's how I've always felt about it - it's why I do my best to avoid borrowing, makes me feel tied down.

    These HR departments (I hate that term) have so little to do that they sit around thinking up new ways to make potential recruits jump through hoops just so there will be more fucking work for themselves. Asswipes.
     
  6. Osiris

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    HR = Human Resourceless.
     
  7. snoozan

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    I think Experian, TransUnion, and that other company have sold their product, which it is after all, to employers for one reason-- to increase their bottom line. Employers have taken the bait hook, line, and sinker and bought into this notion that creditworthiness predicts everything about a person that it really has no bearing on. Car insurance is another example that bliss and I talked about today. It's something required by law and the price is partially set by your credit score. Please tell me how much your likelihood of getting into an accident is increased by how bad your credit is? As far as I've read, default rates on loans haven't gone down since lenders started using FICO scores to determine creditworthiness became the norm, and that's what they are supposed to affect.

    The truth is, illness, divorce, and other major life changes are what cause people to have bad credit, and most of them repair it as soon as they are able to. I think it's a myth to say that people with bad credit will always have bad credit and will always be irresponsible.

    A friend of mine has always said that being handicapped is a minority any of us can enter at any time. Lately, she's added poor and broke to that little piece of wisdom. It's the truth. You can have a credit score of 750 and if one or a few things go badly in your life and within 3 months you can have a credit score of 550, no money, and nowhere to live. It happens all the time.

    It's incomprehensible to me that people who want to work can't get work they are qualified for. When the reason is a credit score, it's infuriating.
     
  8. Penetrator

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    Unlike every post here I would check some people's credit scores for certain jobs. For starters, a credit report says a lot about you. All you get as an employer is a small piece of paper and short interview in which both can be lies. Credit reports lay it out there.

    I hired a guy for about $35K expecting to make about $50K the first year. He had debt up the ass and could not afford to stay at my job regardless if he did really well. He ended up "working" for me for about 8 month and spent the entire time looking for a job.

    On the lower scale jobs, I would not necessarily pull a credit report, but I think that paying your bills and living with in your means speaks to someone’s honesty and integrity.

    If I were you Mercuriabliss, I would be upfront with the interviewer (not the HR person) and tell them that you have gone through the divorce and you are strong now and want the job and will make a strong commitment if you get the chance.
     
  9. rob_just_rob

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    I don't see the purpose of credit checks as part of the job interview process, other than to uncover fraud, potentially (but in the absence of fraud, raw credit scores shouldn't be relevant).

    I've worked in the financial field for 10+ years so I'm fairly used to credit checks at this point.

    That said, I don't see why credit checks should be illegal, any more than behavioural interviews or reference checks should be illegal. Private companies are allowed to discriminate in all kinds of ways; this seems like just another one of those ways.
     
  10. snoozan

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    But it doesn't. All it says is that you've somehow gotten yourself in bad shape financially. This is the main fallacy of the credit check for employment model. There have been no studies that I can find that show creditworthiness predicts job performance.
     
  11. ClaireTalon

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    Well, I chose to be employed in a security-relevant industrial sector, defense systems that is. With my application, I needed to have a SSBI (Single Scope Background investigation, which was luckily not yet 5 years old by then. SSBI means that your complete background is checked, my then boyfriend, other friends and colleagues had been questioned about me, and records from my school and police files had been examined. My private life had been taken apart, one could see, and all that required to get a (well-paid) job.

    However, I can understand employers which check the background of their future employees. However, this should happen with the signed knowledge of the concerned person, I don't like privacy intrusion without being asked first either. But for some positions, especially those involving high levels of confidence, I see them as an absolute necessarity.
     
  12. snoozan

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    Agreed. With that said, most companies, including low-paying retail jobs like Home Depot, require credit checks. I understand a complete background screening for some jobs, but not most of them. Specifically, the jobs bliss is looking at have no real reason to need a background check that detailed. Interior design isn't exactly a field where you have access to government secrets or handle millions of dollars a day.
     
  13. ClaireTalon

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    Yes, but think a little further, please. You may not handle millions of dollars a day or government secrets, but you are handling company-internal data and projects. Things that can mean a lot to your business competitors, for example. Of course all these are practically public once the project is finished, but as long as it is not, in an indirect way it can help business competitors drawing clientele from your firm, or underbidding your offers in advertised biddings.
     
  14. snoozan

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    Understood, Claire. I just fail to see where a credit score affects this. A criminal background check, yes. A thorough checking of references and previous employers, yes. I understand the reasoning, but I just think it's fallacious.
     
  15. ClaireTalon

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    I could understand that a person with financial trouble could easily be put under pressure to take things that don't belong to her, or should stay in the company. It sounds paranoid, but the business world is a tough one. And industrial espionage is a growing economic sector with a wide grey scale.
     
  16. Ethyl

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    I've already done this and it didn't get me anywhere. The fact is, most employers don't care about the reason for your financial woes, especially when they can choose someone with a clean credit report. On one hand, I don't blame them. It's easier to pick the candidate who looks good on paper. Doesn't necessarily mean they'll fulfill their duties on the position but they see that as taking less of a chance than with someone like me who's in the process of paying off debts.

    Exactly. If an employee has a fraudulent past with a former company, that will show in other areas and not necessarily the credit report.
    As I mentioned before, if I were an accountant or worked in finance, I would expect a credit check.
    A company can't ask me if my monthly cycle will keep me from performing my duties or when I plan to start a family. The only reason companies do this is because they can. It's not discriminatory in the sense of race, gender, age or anything similar but it is invasive nonetheless.
    I've given my consent to a credit check at every interview. Here's my biggest problem: i'd appreciate a call from the employer telling me why I didn't get the job, for my own professional development if nothing else. By law they're required to inform you if they decide not to choose you for the position based on the credit report. I've yet to receive the courtesy of a phone call from anyone. I suppose it's too much hassle and if they can get away with not talking to you at all, they will.
     
  17. ClaireTalon

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    Do you really think they'd give you the real reason why you have not been hired? Probably, as long as there is a justifiable, objective reason. If it is your gender or the size of your nose or probably your credit score, I don't think you'd be told that openly.
     
  18. invisibleman

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    REVEREND MERCURIALBLISS's sermon. And she can walk on water.:wink:

    Credit checks by potential employers should be illegal!!!!!!!!!!

    1. It's an invasion of privacy.

    Preach, darlin'. Preach!!!

    2. The main reason it's done is to determine if you're responsible with money. But, as we all know, people go into debt for many reasons: catastrophic illness that health insurance won't cover, divorce (me), being laid off from work, victim of internet or other fraudulent activity - none of these reasons show on a credit check. All it shows is that you owe someone money. It doesn't show if you've made arrangements to pay or if you're waiting for money from another source in order to pay the debt. All it takes is one run of bad luck.

    Like businesses don't have financial troubles. And don't they have bad luck, too? You would think that they would be sympathetic...yet they aren't.

    3. If you refuse to consent to a credit check, then you might as well walk out the door because the employer thinks you have something to hide.

    I guess that they will lose a good employee or two. Well, I always ask if I can look at their books and credit report. Tit for tat. It is only fair.

    4. Employers mistakenly think that a clean credit report ensures against theft or embezzlement. Unless you're an accountant or applying for work in finance, there's no reason to think someone with less spotty credit will show more character, better judgment, or is more trustworthy than someone with a score of 760. I'd wager Arthur Anderson from Enron had an impeccable credit score.

    No, you din't go there. Preach, gurlfriend. Preach!!!

    5. Employers are required by law (in the US)to inform the applicant if they've decided not to offer them the position based on the credit check. They conveniently skip this part as i'm discovering for myself. The last few companies I've interviewed with asked for credit checks. I said yes each time and even took the time to explain my debt situation to one potential employer. They made it clear they were very interested in me and I've gone back for second interviews. The last second interview I was told they would schedule me to start in two weeks. I've called them twice and they haven't returned my calls. I'm fairly certain it's because they checked my credit and despite my discussion with the general manager about my debt and how I planned to repay it, they decided against hiring me.

    Three years ago, I would've had my choice of any of the last few positions I applied for. Now they won't touch me. Even the staffing agency I spoke with today asked me if I could provide proof that my debt was due to divorce. WTF?

    THAT is truly invasive. I would consider another staffing agency. What shitty fucks!!!

    I don't get it. I'm educated and experienced in my field and it means absolutely nothing now.

    Oh, well. Next time the gov't wants something from me, I'll just tell them "I'm sorry, you have a $9 trillion dollar debt therefore I cannot in good conscience recognize your plea".
    *Sigh*

    Ask those federal and state beyotches if you can check their credit report.
    And if their debt is truly because of prolonged war.
     
  19. Osiris

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    Here's a question.

    I wonder if Nick Leeson or Jerome Kerviel had credit checks and if they did were they spotless? These would be two glaring examples of a failure of the credit check system, but of course Leeson was UK and Kerviel is France.

    Snoozan makes the good point about lower paid retail jobs, but having worked for four major retailers, the number one cause of theft is not shoplifters, it is usually internal theft, whether accidental or intentional. The rationale in some cases is that a cashier that cannot manage their own money our keep account will also cause shrink at the POS (Point Of Sale) by not counting money back and into the till correctly.

    I may not like this, but I understand the reasons behind it.

    My beef with it is the case of Mercurialbliss. Here is a woman who had her credit trashed by her ex. I dare anyone to tell me they have never heard of an ex that either maxed a card or two to "get back at the other one" at the end of a relationship. Merc is a smart, degreed woman and all because of a fiscally irresponsible spouse, she is paying the price. Employers who use the credit check as tthe "Holy Grail" of job accountability are foolhardy at best.

    My ID theft was a "friend" who was so jealous of myself and my roommate having high paying tech jobs that he stole not just our credit card numbers, he stole our social security info and bank account routing numbers. I am lucky that I have held several positions where I had fiscal accountablility and my references outweighed what came back in the credit report. Some employers will take that into account when checking references. Plus it doesn't hurt that I have my credit checks fraud alerted, I have official police reports and court proceedings to back me up and the person who stole from me was apprehended and is currently enjoying a vacation on the penal system.

    Merc, if you were here, I could get you hired millions of places with just a phone call. I find that Washington state is a place where people take the persons actions into account rather than a piece of paper from a greedy credit bureau.
     
  20. rob_just_rob

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    I think we may be on the same page here. I agree that it's discriminatory, but companies discriminate in all kinds of ways, other than those that are expressly prohibited (e.g. the menstruation question you hypothesized). People lose jobs because of bad credit checks, but they also lose jobs for typos in their CV's, dressing badly, saying stupid things in interviews, being unattractive, going to the wrong school, or catching the hiring manager on a bad day. None of those things are necessarily less arbitrary than a credit bureau.
     
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