Four weeks after starting a temporary accounting position at Seattle Bank, Kristin Meaux, 36, says she received a call from the human resources director informing her that the bank had mistakenly forgotten to run a credit check on her before allowing her to work there. Meaux says she agreed to a new credit check, but explained to the bank that she had been laid off from her last full-time job in March 2008 and was still trying to pay off several medical bills from a few pregnancy complications that cropped up after she lost her health insurance.
When the results of the credit report came in several days later, Meaux says she was promptly fired and escorted off the premises.
The last few days have seen a number of articles written about the effects of credit checks on employment. When unemployment last a few weeks, the financial drain can seriously damage a credit rating. When the kind of unemployment we have now is the norm, people are often unemployed for months or years. That is devastating to a credit rating.
So, allowing businesses to use credit ratings as a screening technique rules out the unemployed as potential hires.
Wasn’t that a great idea! What don’t we look at their DNA and see if they might have long term problems? Why don’t we go look at their kids grades? Isn’t that a sign of how good a person is? What about relatives? political beliefs? voting habits?
Why do we as a people allow credit ratings (run by three major companies) to determine so much about our lives?
Tell me something. Is it worse to have a criminal record or a bad credit rating?
You can get a criminal record expunged.
It’s time to stop the practice of background credit checks for employment.
(And for that matter, allowing employers to require you provide your medical records, is another thing that should disappear.)