Refugees who either have no credit history yet or whom resettlement agencies ruined their credit by reporting them to credit bureaus for unpaid travel loans can find it difficult to find jobs. That’s because employers practice credit history discrimination, and Chicago’s City Council is now taking a look at this practice. A lawyer with the Illinois attorney general’s office told the council’s Human Relations Committee that a troubled credit history has no relationship to poor job performance or theft on the job. Employers can also refuse to hire people for being unemployed – no questions asked. An article in the Chicago Tribune discusses a City Council proposal to prevent this sort of discrimination:
Rejecting Chicago job applicants because of credit history would be banned in most cases under a proposal a City Council committee endorsed Thursday…
…Under the city measure, applicants who believe they have been wronged can take the less costly and simpler route of filing a complaint with the city Human Relations Commission.
The proposal, put forward by freshman Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th, also would ban employment ads that say the unemployed cannot apply.
“People have been discriminated against simply on the basis of credit history or for simply being unemployed, and as a result, qualified applicants are being denied jobs,” Pawar said. “Every job seeker, regardless of their credit history, deserves a fair shake.
“And this kind of discrimination has profound impacts on seniors, single-income households, immigrants, refugees and parents re-entering the workforce and finally veterans,” he said…
…A union representative, an employment coordinator for a human rights group and a lawyer with the Illinois attorney general’s office all told the council’s Human Relations Committee that a troubled credit history has no relationship to poor job performance or theft on the job.
The officials also cited studies that indicate about a third of credit reports contain errors… Read more here
***UPDATE*** – Feb. 24, 2012 – Shelly Banjo writing for the Wall Street Journal reports that more than a dozen states are considering making it illegal for companies to discriminate against the unemployed:
“More than a dozen states are considering legislation to make it illegal for companies to discriminate against the unemployed. State lawmakers say they see the bias turning up in a nation with an 8.3% unemployment rate: Companies that explicitly advertise that they won’t hire someone who isn’t currently employed. The proposals from Connecticut to California range in scope from banning advertisements that require current employment to allowing unsuccessful job candidates to sue businesses under the same discrimination laws that apply to bias on the basis of religion, race, gender or national origin…” Read more here