EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

December 18, 2013

Bill by Sen. Warren would bar credit checks by employers

BOSTON — Citing research that suggests a person’s credit rating has no relation to their ability to perform at work, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., yesterday introduced legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., that would prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their credit history.

Warren said the practice unfairly targets women, minorities, seniors, students and others with fewer resources to bounce back financially after a personal setback like an illness or divorce.

“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.”

Those low credit ratings can follow an individual for years.

Warren told reporters there’s little evidence of any correlation between a poor credit rating and job performance.

Warren’s bill is called the Equal Employment for All Act co-sponsored by fellow Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

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