It’s strange in a way to see an issue I’ve talked about since the mid-1990s with my friends and family now becoming so prevalent. The issue: credit score checks being used as employment screening. For years, I’ve been warning those around me that credit scores were going to be used to commit economic discrimination against people. Now, apparently many more believe this to be the case as well, enough so that a number of states may ban credit checks on job applications. It’s about time.
I agree credit checks should be in place for those seeking employment in the financial and security fields, but fail to see how credit checks apply to the overwhelming majority of jobs. There’s no real recourse for the job seeker. It’s not like you can really refuse the credit check since most employers will simply pass you over in favor of looking over someone else who is more submissive. Employers may not admit that outright, but for those intent on snooping on their potential employees they’ll simply move on to another applicant and perhaps try to question your honesty and integrity in an attempt to shame you into acquiescence and surrender of your privacy.
For that matter, the justification behind such credit checks by some that it is a mark of the potential employee’s character, integrity, or skill is nonsense and a sophomoric conclusion at best. Without knowledge of the individual’s situation and circumstances one can not make such broad and sweeping judgments upon another. That is akin to coming to the inane conclusion that all young men are criminals because a small number of young men committed robbery. Worse still is the implied notion that one with bad credit is somehow akin to a convicted criminal and undeserving of work in order to rectify their dismal financial situation.
By the twisted “reasoning” that a good credit score equates out to a person with good character and integrity then all the conniving, greedy pigs in Washington, D.C. and Wall Street are paragons of virtue. Yeah, we all know how true that is. Don’t we? I’m looking at you Mr. Madoff, SEC, House Finance Committee, Bernanke, Geithner, taxpayer funded overpaid corporate execs, AIG, GM, et al., as well as those corrupt small business owners out there that cook their books while acting holier than thou in their hiring practices.
How does making it more difficult for one in dire financial straits improve their chances of fixing their situation? Quite simply, it does not. It is my hope that one day credit score employment screenings will be banned.