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Is Using Credit Reports to Screen Job Applicants Fair?

USA Today (03/05/12) Trevor Hughes

State lawmakers are increasingly concerned about employers using credit reports to screen job applicants, especially since the economic downturn has caused many people to lose their jobs and fall behind in their bills. The practice has been limited by new laws in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington, and Colorado may soon follow suit. Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), the sponsor of the Colorado bill, says there is no connection between work ethic and creditworthiness, and she is concerned that such a practice will create a permanently unemployable class of people.

Chris Ball, operations manager of the staffing firm Express Employment Professionals in Jackson, MS, says hiring managers do not want workers who have filed bankruptcy within the last five years. However, he says some are more willing to hire people with bad credit as temporary employees to allow them to prove their skills and trustworthiness.