Legislation introduced to ban credit employment checks in Massachusetts

filed an ordinance that would ban employer use of credit checks, including preventing employers from asking applicants to grant permission to perform such a check. Massachusetts has long banned the box for employers – and now looks to do the same for credit checks. “We need to be eliminating all barriers to employment to ensure people are meeting their full potential and can make contributions civically and to our tax bases,” Councilor Ayanna Pressley said. “Barriers like credit employment checks can make it impossible for some people to become self-sufficient.” An exception to the ban is for jobs where the information has clear relevance: for example, if the hire would handle significant financial responsibilities for the company or work in law enforcement.

Why perform credit checks?

Credit checks show items such as unpaid debts, outstanding loans, mortgages, credit card purchase, and bankruptcies. One reason employers may consider credit checks is as an indicator of character – many hiring managers believe that a troubled financial history signals untrustworthiness. However, credit check opponents say that bad credit scores do not reflect poor job skills. Instead, employers should consider that a person was hit by an unexpected hardship. “People have poor credit for many reasons,” Pressley said. “For a life disruption, or because someone is ill and you went into a tailspin for being their caregiver. You could have poor credit because you were laid off. Or because you were preyed upon in such a fashion that you took on a mortgage at a high-interest rate that should never been granted and you were set up to fail.” Considering a credit check program? Make sure to understand your local and state laws.  If you have any questions on how this legislation may affect your organization, contact us today.]]>

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