- Posted November 20, 2009 by
Employment Laws, Credit Scores, Hiring Practices, Discrimination
Hiring practices that use credit scores to determine candidate worthiness are NOT CURRENTLY a discriminatory practice.
But they WILL be.
Denying employment to someone because they've had a credit problem is like a doctor telling a patient to come back for treatment later when they're not so sick.
It’s the most ridiculous discriminatory practice since AGE discrimination was added to the list along with the rest.
It seems odd to me that we have to add words like, AGE, RACE/COLOR RELIGION, and PREGNANCY etc. to LIST specifically each and every way that discrimination can occur. Then sit around and watch as thousands and millions of others are discriminated against until their particular 'catch word' is added to the language before the EEOC will back your cause.
A tale of Whoa,
After a 61/2 month exhaustive search for employment, I've finally found an almost ideal position. Like many Michigan residents, finding work locally that matches my job skills has been difficult. This is the first time being unemployed since 1977, its been extremely difficult emotionally, as I turned 50 this year, but more importantly financially.
After a 20 year career in Michigan I found my former employer providing less and less opportunities, asking more and more for basic health care coverage, while bonus's and executive pay rose around us, all the while the basic expenses of mortgage payments, heating costs, grocery bills, even sports participation put a unimaginable strain on my family. By 2006 I'd had enough. After recovering from a divorce a couple years earlier, things were finally looking up.
Car payments and mortgage payments and the basics were getting paid but with little left over for much else. So in 2006 after watching many of my co-workers leaving for greener pastures, I started out on my own with a consulting job that doubled my salary, but cut in half the amount of health care coverage. Little did I know then that this trend would eventually lead to my financial demise.
During what was to be a 2-3 year consulting job with Ford Motor Company something important happened. Buy-outs were the new direction and solution for the ailing automakers. This affected me directly in 2 ways. First, my team found itself without a project sponsor. Ford looked around the room and after all the advocates for our efforts were now at home sitting on a pile of money, and looking for work themselves. My 2-3 year contract became 6 months and we're sorry. Bad enough I thought but I simply loaded my resume with my new consulting experience a started my search again.
During the 3 months it took to land my next consulting position. Cobra Payments of $987.00.. a month drained everything I managed to save with my new salary in the short term.
Now relying on my 401k distribution I had money in the bank and another job making good money at home in Michigan. Even as my salary increased in my next contract, my health care coverage was once again less, and now my Rx costs as a result of a drug eluding stints being placed have now reach $487.00 per month. Eating up a offsetting my increase in salary I just negotiated at yet another higher rate.
Then the phone rang once again with yet another opportunity. This one is a big deal. Even as my contract job with my current employer was only 6 month old, I had an offer I had to seriously consider.
The pay increase was once again attractive and the health care costs were less by only a few dollars but less just the same. And I had to travel out of state for work.
Rather than spending my extra dollars on air fare for travel I chose to make the commute 5 1/2 hours from Lansing Michigan to Bloomington IL Even as this his meant my son had to spend more time staying at his mothers house, after a reasonable conversation it was decided it would be a good move to make. And so it goes until..
Gas prices are now $4.67 a gallon. Even with that increase it was still more cost effective to drive vs. fly, but more of my increase was going out than I would have liked. And now each year my HEALTHCARE deductible rose yet again to $2400.00 each year and my Rx co-pays are now 60% until that is met, then covered 60% of the cost for the remainder of the year.
A year and a half later, I'm back to paying cobra. This time with money in the bank, unemployment benefits on the way and thanks to our current administration a premium reduction from $467.00 a month to $155.50 for COBRA.
Now however there is a banking crisis, mortgage crisis and a meltdown in the employment world, I'm in this for the long haul and a long haul it turns out to be. Yet another increase in Rx costs, even as I move to generic medications, I've had to ad 2 more pills that don't have generics and I can't afford.
Thanksgiving is next week. With my remaining saving dwindled to $195.00 and the bills piling up faster every day. I just received a promising phone call that my job qualifications match exactly a National Transportation System in Annapolis MD is looking for.
Even as I have to consider taking a job that includes weekly travel out of state. My son is older, he's more mature, his older brother is staying with us and he's doing fabulous in school.
And so I hesitate, but only for a second. I knew that when I applied I was applying to be on the road again. This time for 10 months but my options are limited and the offers are scarce. I tell Adam yes, I'd love to hear more about this opportunity.
Now however, working for Dept of Transportation a security clearance is required. I tell Adam that I've had a difficult year financially. Forced to pay Cobra and soaring Rx costs while my saving dwindled from over $17,000.00 in April to $195.00 in November, I was forced to let the bank repo my car.
Not only was this a blow to my pride, it was the second time Cobra has forced me to the brink of financial disaster. Now Adam tells me that a poor credit report preempts me from obtaining the necessary security clearance for the position.
I'm incensed. I don't now how to explain to him that COBRA and rising health care costs had FORCED me to choose between paying for my coverage, and paying for medication OR continuing to pay for my car each month. I try to explain that millions of Americans are in the same position as me, and that its discriminatory practice to deny employment based on your earning ability, even as I know its not.
I try to tell Adam that my financial decisions were extremely sound given my HEALTHCARE circumstances, and I would challenge anyone to do better with more resources that I had available to me at the time.
You see I contacted the EEOC who reminded me that discrimination is based ONLY on age, disability, equal pay, pregnancy, race/color religion, national origin, retaliation, sex, sexual orientation. I then ask Tom at the EEOC if anyone at this agency are advocates for my cause.
I ask if anyone at the EEOC listening to the news that now millions of Americans are now facing financial challenges that adversely affect credit scores? And with soaring unemployment, it truly IS discriminatory to deny employment opportunities.
Has anyone there heard of California AB 2918 making the use of credit reports illegal to use except where your specifically managing money as part of your job description.
Not only is it unfair its wrong. There was a time in this country when discrimination didn't include exempting women, or minorities, or age. These had to be added to the language of the law. The practice of using credit to disqualify candidates is also morally wrong. Everyone with common sense knows that a financial burden beyond your control can only be reconciled through EMPLOYMENT unless of course you happen to win the lottery.
Denying employment because you've had financial problems is like having a doctor tell you they can't treat you because you’re sick. It the single most ridiculous use of credit scores imaginable. Its use is deplorable, inexcusable, immoral and wrong.
I'm now waiting for my CURRENT rights to be served. When denied employment based on credit where credit is report used to deny employment, a copy is required to be sent to the person being denied. I have not yet received it. I also have a right to file a suite and to petition my congressmen and senators to take up my cause, which I will do, in the upcoming week.
I see the issue clearly, and I see that millions that have suffered with high health care costs, and predatory lending practices, and banking fees and ATM charges, and late fees, and fee fees, to the point where credit scores suffer. Now were being told we cannot get a job because we don't meet the requirements of CREDIT.
I now think I know how Rosa Parks must have felt. This is obviously wrong, and I for one am an advocate for change.
ANYONE anyone anyone? Helloooooooooooooo?