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Senator Warren Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Employers From Requiring Credit Report Disclosure

Aug 09, 2015 12:42PM ● Published by Kieran Gilman

(Editor's Note: The following information was submitted by the offices of Senator Elizabeth Warren.)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today introduced the Equal Employment for All Act with Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). The legislation would prohibit employers from requiring potential employees to disclose their credit history as part of the job application process. It was previously thought that credit history may provide insight into an individual's character, but research has shown that an individual's credit rating has little to no correlation with his or her ability to be successful in the workplace.

"A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual's character or abilities," Senator Warren said.  "Families have not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and too many Americans are still searching for jobs. This is about basic fairness -- let people compete on the merits, not on whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills."

A study from the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year suggested that errors in credit reports are common and, in many cases, have been difficult to correct. "It makes no sense to make it harder for people to get jobs because of a system of credit reporting that has no correlation with job performance and that can be riddled with inaccuracies," Warren said.

The Equal Employment for All Act has been endorsed by more than 40 organizations, including 9to5, AFGE Women's and Fair Practices Departments, American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Relations (AFL-CIO), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Americans for Financial Reform, Asian American Justice Center, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Black Women's Roundtable, Campaign for Community Change, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Consumer Action, DÄ“mos, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Disability Rights Legal Center, Job Opportunities Task Force, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Legal Action Center, MFY Legal Services, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Council of La Raza, National Council on Independent Living, National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), National Fair Housing Alliance, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women's Law Center, National Workrights Institute, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), New York Legal Assistance Group, PolicyLink, Poverty and Race Research Action Council, Public Citizen, Public Justice Center, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and U.S. PIRG.

Senator Warren's bill is based on legislation previously introduced by Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9).
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