9 thoughts on “Don’t Ban Pre-Employment Credit Checks

  1. There seems to be an implicit assumption that someone with bad credit is more likely to commit a criminal act. Do you have any real evidence for this?

    I may be old fashioned, but I think that the only people who have any business running a credit check on me are those who are considering lending me money.

  2. Are you familiar with the concept of "self-fulfilling prophecy?" It means that if the world keeps branding someone a certain way, that person will eventually become that brand (good or bad). All the world's employers branding someone as a potential thief will eventually lead to those people becoming thieves, partly because no legitimate employer would hire them because of a measure that is completely asinine and irrelevant to one's abilities to do the actual job. Don't tell me a credit report has ANY bearing on one's ability to be a janitor or a sales clerk.

    I know for a fact that there ARE employers who use credit reports to reject people for jobs b/c it happened to my dad. He was NOT applying for a job at a bank or for the federal government. He was also given NO opportunity to explain.

    With all the pro-discrimination talk from the post on religious beliefs, I wouldn't put it past employers to use the credit report to reject candidates whose race, gender, age, etc. they didn't like. Statistically, minorities (particular black people) have worse credit reports and suffer the impact of this. What are your thoughts on that issue?

    I also had problems trying to get admitted as an attorney because of credit card debt incurred prior to law school in order for me to pay for basic necessities like gas, food, etc. My family didn't come from money so excuse the heck out of me for moving to a new city for law school and not being able to find a side job to pay for it. Oh, and I'd paid on those credit card bills on time, every month for YEARS but despite that & having NOTHING ELSE on my record, I still got harassed over it. Classism at its finest.

    Even more ironic that most law graduates incur six-figure loan debt to get the degree to start with and THEN get rejected for admission for not being born to millionaires since only a millionaire's kid who parents are ATMs can survive without a credit card or student loan debt.

    I also agree that if some employer wants to see MY credit report, then they need to show me their financial statements, records of any administrative or legal proceeding, personal contact information of all the top brass and give me a written contract stating that I will be paid ON TIME, EVERY TIME. After all, I've had employers not pay me as well as some who hired me simply to make their scam operation look legit. I've also had people pretend they were interested then fall off the face of the Earth after interviews. I consider such people to be flakes (we're talking small businesses with my only interaction being with the CEO).

    That's a primary reason I'm not building a career by working for someone else.

  3. While credit checks may give the employer a little more information about a prospective employee, it's not on our list of the information we want when we are seeking employees.

    While the information itself may be harmless enough, the way that it is interpreted or used by an employer is the danger here.

    Some unscrupulous employers could use this information to exploit some employees.

    Personal financial status really is a personal matter.

    Employers who put an unnecessary focus on this are probably missing the more important and relevant aspects of a prospective employee's application and may miss out on the right employee.

  4. I feel that several times I was denied a job based on a credit check (I had my mortgage modified, and recently had to file bankruptcy due to two years of unemployment and reduced employment). On the first interview I was asked to fill out the paper for the background check. I never got return calls. Their "interest" evaporated.

    I do graphic design, and do not work with company finances, yet I feel they are discriminating because of it.

  5. There is absolutely NO reason any employer has ANY right to MY financial information. Period. NOT ONE study has proven ANY correlation between performance or workplace criminal tendancies and ones credit rating. Also, it should be a violation of HIPAA and/or the ADA for any employer to see medical debt of any kind, or to even be made aware of its existence. This discriminatory practice MUST stop NOW for ALL jobs!

  6. I am a divorce', Before the divorce my credit was 800+.

    I am not a thief, nor will I ever be a thief. I was just a very naive woman who left my name on a mortgage as well as a few other debts because my ex husband couldn't refinance on a house he was upside down on that were awarded to him by the courts because I being a homemaker our entire 20 years couldn't afford them. I settled on less spousal support as a compromise.

    Put my butt back through school to earn an income.

    While my ex husband walked away from the house, and filed bankruptcy. I found out only by getting nasty letters from his creditors who were now after me.

    I was a full time student, I still pay the debts I took in our divorce on time each month.

    But now that I am done with school and in the job market I find that I have to be subjected to more humiliation? How am I supposed to find a job?

    I'm a great employee, and very loyal. But all they see is my credit score not "ME".

  7. These practices are discriminatory, serve no purpose other than to force a socialist agenda on the people.

    If this country keeps sliding down this slippery slope of personality test and credit checks to deny hardworking Americans jobs soon no one will work but those some unseen entity deems as "worthy" a great many years ago this world had one of those people, he wanted a master race that was perfect, he invaded countries and tried to take over, killed, enslaved and deemed some as "subhuman" and systematically murdered them. His name was Adolf Hitler, oh how easily we forget the past as we make our way back towards it. The next Hitler will be a Corporation.

  8. I see credit checks as an unnecessary PR nightmare for employers.

    Echoing what the first commenter said: Do you have solid data that links poor credit to a tendency for criminal activity?

    The story of the indebted HR lady stealing your social security number makes for a compelling and cohesive story, but it is nothing more than that – a story.

    To give you a real example of the poor guesses we humans make, let’s think about starfish. Before I learned that starfish could not only survive being cut in half but thrive after the experience, I would have guessed being cleaved in half would have resulted in death.

    When humans are cut in half, we die. Hack a horse in half? Yep, dead. But, cut a starfish in half, and you have two starfish. That’s reality. Not a story. (For research on human error in prediction refer to Daniel Kahneman).

    I can’t blame people for getting upset about accusations when you have nothing aside from a guess to back up your argument. Hell, people get upset even if you do have data to back up your argument. Nobody likes being called a cheat or a liar.

    And, if – as you say – credit checks are not often used and they rank quite low as a decision making tool, what’s the point?

    The economy is shitty, people are upset and out of work. Why do you need a tool which upsets people, but doesn’t significantly increase the efficacy of the hiring process?

    I apologize if my tone is a bit snappy, but as an unemployed person – I’m personally upset by credit checks. I wouldn’t submit to them if I didn’t have to, but – out of a sense of self-preservation – I have occasionally done so, and it feels as if I have been violated in some manner.


  9. Credit checks are bullshit.

    If you want to know if I’m likely to steal from you, then feel free to take out the most detailed background check you can, because you won’t find anything. Because I don’t steal and I don’t commit crimes.

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