Elizabeth Warren Introduces Legislation To Prevent Job Applicant Credit Checks

On Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and six of her colleagues in the Senate introduced a bill that would prevent employers from discriminating against job applicants who have poor credit.

The Equal Employment for All Act—co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)—would prohibit the judging of applicants by this metric.

It was once thought that credit history may provide insight into an individual’s character, however, research has shown that an individual’s credit rating has little to no correlation with his or her ability to be successful in the workplace.

A study from the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year suggested that errors in credit reports are common and, in many cases, have been difficult to correct. “It makes no sense to make it harder for people to get jobs because of a system of credit reporting that has no correlation with job performance and that can be riddled with inaccuracies,” Warren said.

The bill, which is backed by over 40 community, financial reform, labor and civil rights organizations, would be a boon for low-wage workers, minority communities, and women. Credit checks used in the hiring process disproportionately disqualify people of color. Divorce tends to hit women’s finances harder than men’s, and women are also more likely to receive subprime loans than men.

Senator Warren’s bill is based on H.R. 645, which was introduced by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) in 2011.

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