Friday, August 07, 2009

Credit Checks Are Screwing the Downtrodden

This isn't a new practice; in fact I read about this last year and another article appears in today's New York Times regarding employers running credit checks on job applicants and then refusing to hire those who appear to have a history of "bad decision-making."
Business executives say that they have an obligation to be diligent and to protect themselves from employees who may be unreliable, unwise or too susceptible to temptation to steal, and that credit checks are a help.

“If I see too many negative things coming up on a credit check, it’s one of those things that raises a flag with me,” said Anita Orozco, director of human resources at Sonneborn, a petrochemical company based in Mahwah, N.J. She added that while bad credit alone would not be a reason to deny someone a job, it might reveal poor judgment.

“If you see a history of bad decision-making, you don’t want that decision-making overflowing into your organization,” she said.

More than 40 percent of employers use credit checks at least sometimes, according to a 2004 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, up from 25 percent in 1998. The share has almost certainly risen today, say career counselors.

Yeah, like the millions of people who made the "bad decision" to take a job at a company which would at some point lay them off, or the "bad decision" to feed their families vs. pay the mortgage when the option is either/or. And many made the "bad decision" to seek medical help for a serious injury when they had no health insurance because they can't afford it, and are now facing bankruptcy due to the enormous costs of health treatment.

Are there also millions of Americans who have abused credit cards, shopped for things they don't need and can't afford, simply because credit was easy? Of course. But this practice is screening out far too many honest workers who have been impacted by the current recession and making their lives far more difficult.

But hey, people who might easily pass a credit check are just one less thing to worry about because we know they aren't going to steal, right?

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