Real Story Segment:
A bill coming before the Senate this week would make a real difference in people’s lives.
Imagine not getting a job you would otherwise have gotten simply because your employer finds out you have a low credit score. Strange as it sounds, nearly half of employers are now investigating job applicants’ credit histories prior.
It is tough enough in this economy to find a job. But now some people cannot get jobs because they owe money.
In some cases, this is because people were laid off, fell behind in their bills only to find that employers won’t hire them because of their debts.
In other cases, innocent people are victims of identity theft, and spend years trying to repair their credit histories, went through a messy divorce or suffered a major medical expense. Despite the fact that people now have bad credit for all kinds of reasons, three credit reporting agencies – corporations accountable to no one but their shareholders – often now decide whether you can get a job or not.
Employer credit checks are now a major barrier to employment in an already difficult job market.
In order to help get people back to work, we seek to limit the practice.
A bill I helped author, HB 5521, recently passed the House of Representatives 109-34, with bipartisan support. A conservative Republican, Rep. Selim Noujaim, even co-sponsored the bill.
HB 5521 would limit the use of credit checks to when they truly are job related or required by law.
But special interests are worried, and now the three out-of-state credit reporting agencies have hired big money lobbyists to do whatever they can to derail the bill.
Gov. Rell Threatens Veto
Unfortunately, Governor Rell’s office is threatening to veto the bill, siding with the Credit Reporting Agencies and against job seekers. This, even after Connecticut businesses said they were generally happy with the carve outs in the bill that allow truly necessary credit checks.
Please contact your state senator and ask them to support limiting the use of credit checks for employment decisions by supporting 5521.