Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Checks for Employment

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Credit checks are a way for employers to check a candidate’s credit history. This includes how much they owe on credit cards, mortgages, or student loans and whether they have had any financial trouble.

They can also assess a candidate’s financial responsibility and gauge their trustworthiness. However, many state and local governments have taken steps to restrict credit checks in employment.

They are a form of discrimination

While a credit check for employment may not seem like a big deal, it can seriously impact your hiring chances. Fortunately, there are laws on the books that prevent discrimination in hiring.

The first step in the process is understanding your rights under the law. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or gender.

Employers who use these types of credit checks on their applicants violate the law, even if they do not make an adverse employment decision. If you feel your employer violated your rights, contact an employment lawyer for a free consultation.

They are a form of retaliation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines retaliation as a workplace action against an employee who engages in protected conduct. That conduct includes opposing an illegal practice, requesting a reasonable accommodation, or participating in legal proceedings.

EEOC notes that any action detaching employees from reporting alleged violations is considered retaliation. It could include increased surveillance, altering work conditions, or unjustified negative employee reviews.

If you feel you’ve been retaliated against for filing discrimination complaints or engaging in protected activity, seek the guidance of an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and how to protect yourself.

Many states and cities have enacted laws restricting credit checks for employment. These laws require employers to get written permission from applicants and send pre-adverse action notices.

They are a form of harassment

Discriminatory harassment is a form of workplace bullying that targets members of protected minority groups under federal law. It is illegal to discriminate based on someone’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, or physical ability.

Harassment is often unintentional and can go undetected. Others can also perpetrate it within the company that may have no business with the victim.

Non-verbal harassment includes:

  • Things like staring at a person up and down.
  • Following them or stalking them.
  • Making sexually suggestive visuals.
  • Using inappropriate or offensive body language or facial expressions.
  • Rubbing oneself on another person’s clothing or body.

It can also include touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or licking the victims’ lips.

The newest form of harassment is digital or cyberbullying, which includes posting derogatory comments or images on social media. It is as dangerous and demeaning as physical bullying. It can also include making false allegations or creating fake personas to bully people online.

They are a form of intimidation

Workplace intimidation can be a devastating and debilitating experience for victims. It can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Workers who are the target of workplace intimidation should take responsibility for their safety, seek assistance from a human resources professional, or call 911. Alternatively, they should try to avoid situations that could result in being the victim of intimidation in the future.

Employers may use credit checks as a part of the hiring process to ensure that they are not hiring someone who is insolvent or has significant financial issues that would affect their job duties. This is done to prevent theft, embezzlement, and fraud.

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