Some employers are checking credit reports of job applicants before they hire. Senator Mike Rose of Dorchester says that will not help ease the states record high unemployment and has sponsored a bill to change that practice.
“What we have is a lot of people who have been laid off as no fault of their own. We have a high unemployment rate. Then, if they are diligent enough, and responsible enough to try and find a job, and then they can’t get it because of no fault of their own, they miss payments on their house or something like that. I think, and evidently other states that are passing this legislation don’t think there’s a rational reason for using circumstances beyond their control as grounds for denying them unemployment,” says Rose.Rose’s bill does allow using a credit check as a basis for employment in one case: “And that is if the job has anything to do with handling money, or the employer can show there’s some relationship between the credit check and the nature of the job. But, whether or not I’m an airplane pilot shouldn’t have anything to do with my credit,” says Rose.
Rose says preventing employers from checking applicants’ credit could help prevent identity theft as well. He says there can be a compromise.
“We regulate lots of things in order to protect our citizens and we have to respond now to the usual circumstances caused by this financial meltdown and unemployment. There are very responsible people who no fault of their own have been laid off and can’t pay their bills, they’re looking for a job, they’re on unemployment, and I don’t think late a couple payments should be grounds for denying them employment when the job has nothing to do with handling money,” says Rose.
Rose’s bill S.996 is now slated for Senate Judiciary Committee and will have to be fine-tuned in subcommittee, says Rose.