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View Diary: Sen. Warren and 6 others introduce bill barring employers from rejecting job seekers for bad credit (224 comments)

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  •  You'll notice that skin color, gender etc. refer (12+ / 0-)

    to aspects of a person over which they have no choice (give or take ointments and surgery). I'm presuming the argument for the credit check is that this is a value that does reflect a person's "choices" - but as Elizabeth Warren points out there are many reasons to have a bad credit rating that may even reflect good choices a person was forced to make.

    To me this is an unacceptable intrusion into a person's privacy - a relevant criminal check is fine where truly needed, but a credit check for a non-financial position is NOT fine. Nor is being coerced to provide online passwords or anything similar. What on earth has got into us that we accept this level of invasion into our private lives - a job is just a contract between two entities.

    Would the business elites consider it OK to perform these kinds of personal checks whenever they transact business - I think not. But they think its A-OK to force prospective employees to pee into a cup, and rummage around their credit history or facebook pages. It reflects the utter disdain the "job creators" have for workers and the power imbalance that has pushed so many Americans into a semi-feudal existence of paycheck-to-paycheck contingency.

    Watching Boeing management in Chicago happily beating the machinists union here in Seattle into either submission or irrelevance is truly sickening. My fantasy would be to make management pee in a cup, go through their credit records and facebook pages, and then shop for cheaper and more intelligent individuals who didn't get there by way of the McDonnell-Douglas takeover.

    •  rummage around their credit history or facebook (1+ / 0-)
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      Should be illegal also.

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:55:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  way too far (1+ / 0-)
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        what if a check of facebook turns up statements disparaging the employer, references to drug abuse, or, as is often the case with facebook, racist statements, or simple piss-poor grammar.  A customer can run the same facebook search and possibly take the business elsewhere.

        I don't think it should be routine, but as an attorney, i'm entrusted with sensitive information and i have to maintain some level of public credibility.  If i have a credit knock because of a medical debt or high student loans, that's one thing, but if i have extremely large credit card debt, an employer could legitimately wonder if i can be trusted with such sensitive information.  Obviously, for many jobs the credit report has no bearing.  I'm sure the bill addresses this, but the argument in favor of it does seem to assume the employer is incapable of distinguishing credit knocks arising from factors for which the applicant is at fault versus not.  If it's a matter of simple too-many-applications-per-job such that they can only triage based on FICO score, that's the problem, not the fact they may use credit reports at all.  

        Question: can a landlord run a credit check on a prospective tenant, or is that not ok?  Does it matter if it's a commercial building management company versus a single family dwelling renting out a basement?

        The best argument in favor of the bill, it seems to me, is relying on credit reports makes assumptions about the accuracy of them.  That's not so much a problem with facebook postings.  Don't put stuff on the Internet you don't want on the Internet.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:13:18 PM PST

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        •  I don't even use facebook. (0+ / 0-)

          But I  think it has gone too far.  I could be denied employment just because I closed my account?

          How on earth tdid  the earth turn and business survive before all of this high tech?

          Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

          by DRo on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:18:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, marketing or public relations jobs (0+ / 0-)

            i know may look at how many twitter followers one has, and that makes some sense to me, because marketing.  I've never heard of people being denied a job because they deleted a facebook account.  Employers should be thrilled -- not only is there nothing embarrassing, but probably more productive.  

            The APRANET is a few years older than I am, so I can't comment on the last one.  I don't want to go back to researching cases in the physical reporters.   There are more documents to review in discovery, but it also doesn't have to be done in dusty warehouses anymore.   More seriously, I don't like politicians blaming technology for policy failures, as if robots and computers justify giving up.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:27:35 PM PST

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        •  Accuracy should not be a big problem any more. (1+ / 0-)
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          The best argument in favor of the bill, it seems to me, is relying on credit reports makes assumptions about the accuracy of them.
          But consumers can get, for no cost, their credit reports annually and there are well defined procedures for contesting the accuracy of items on these reports. If someone has inaccurate (vs. just disputed) information on their credit report, I'm not sure I'd want to hire them since they obviously are not very proactive at solving problems.
          •  Well, that's some optimism (0+ / 0-)

            about these "well defined procedures."  I really can't get into the issue further, except to say that's really cute of you to say so.

            Further, this is pretty unrealistic about human psychology, especially since people might not have any reason to know or care if there is in fact a problem.  By that same logic, people might not be sufficiently 'proactive' if falling for any predatory loan scam (why not just calculate compound interest?), or not reading any fine print, when magnifying glasses are only $5.  There are some jobs for which these are good arguments.  I don't want accountants losing money in ponzi schemes, but i think for stacking boxes at a warehouse, we can let it slide.  

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:32:14 PM PST

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            •  Why NOT calculate compound interest? (0+ / 0-)

              At some point, individuals have to take responsibility for themselves. Ignorance is not a universal solution.

              Admittedly, our education system has failed - no one should get a high school diploma without basic life skills such as understanding compound interest. Unfortunately, I doubt it's taught in most schools. Obviously, the use of a calculator or other tool to do the computations for a specific test case should be allowed for speed and accuracy.

              Although, I would like to see more regulations that require more transparency in consumer transactions by offering clearer descriptions in standard formats of what the consumer's liabilities and obligations will be. For example, the "it will cost you this much and take you this long to pay off this bill if you make a minimum payment" feature on credit card bills is a significant improvement.

    •  What do you mean, "relevant" criminal background? (5+ / 0-)
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      VClib, Sparhawk, MGross, lgmcp, Eyesbright

      Speaking as devil's advocate:
      If I'm an employer, a potential employee's criminal background is 100% "relevant", as I see fit.  If the potential employee doesn't like it, he's free to apply for a job elsewhere.

      Criminal records are a matter of public record, so I'm not sure how you'd create a law outlining what portions of a criminal record are "relevant" and banning potential employers from examining the deemed "irrelevant" portions.

      •  Arrest or POI vs. charge or conviction (0+ / 0-)

        Sometimes employers ask if the prospective employee has ever been arrested or identified as a "person of interest."  An individual can be arrested or named as a "person of interest" but never charged with a crime or convicted of anything.    Shouldn't be relevant in most cases.

        •  OK, I agree with you there. (0+ / 0-)

          But convictions, I think, are fair game.

          Charged but acquitted shouldn't be fair game, but it's a matter of public record, so I don't know how you keep an employer from looking at such a record and making a judgment based on that, privately to himself.

    •  What on earth has got into us that we accept this (3+ / 0-)
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      shaharazade, elwior, NoMoreLies

      level of invasion into our private lives?

      We're desperate and corporate has all the cash and controls opportunity.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:02:20 PM PST

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      •  What's the definition of "private lives", though? (0+ / 0-)

        Credit record boils down to one's ability to pay loans, be those explicit loans for cars, mortgages, etc, or implicit loans as in credit card usage.  Such a transaction isn't "private" in that it only involves you and the other party.  You're brining a third party into the situation, the loaner.  And it becomes a matter of record.  And you know that going in; you know that any transaction made with "credit" or "loan" is going to be recorded by a credit bureau, which are private entities (not government), but entities that you know share that info with others.

        IF one wants a totally "private life", regarding all transactions, then one must pay with cash.  End of story.

        And you use the word "corporate", but I assume that this bill isn't just about "corporations" but all employers, from multi-national corporations to 3-person shops.  Those 3-person shops don't "have all the cash and controls opportunity" they are just small businesses trying to make responsible employee hires.  Now that I think of it, a huge multi-national corporation can survive a bad hiring (that might have been detected by a credit check) much more easily than a small concern could.  That's one example of why I think it's wrong to make laws out of vindictiveness against corporations.  I don't think that's Warren's motive.  But it appears to be the motive of many here, according to comments.

    •  You also have to try to find this info. (0+ / 0-)

      The law can tell employers thou shalt not check and tell the reporting agencies thou shalt not reveal.  I believe each individual should be notified whenever his/her credit is checked and in some cases have pre-emptive veto over it being checked.  The difference between that and something like race or gender is that once you meet the prospect for an interview those factors are usually pretty obvious.

    •  Predatory lending prior to 2008 was a very common (1+ / 0-)
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      tactic used as a means of wealth extraction in minority communities and female borrowers. The really super obvious examples can be found post Reconstruction, and even though our government made sounds like this practice would be ended, it appears it was expanded.

      Equality in the other direction. Instead of lifting everyone up, we bury everyone in financial debt with bad faith contracts, fraud, etc.,

      See Mortgage crash for examples.

      And then try and deny the newly homeless the vote to boot.

      It started before then, but this latest wave (the mortgage crash) came home to roost about then.

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 02:47:33 PM PST

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    •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

      It seems to me that there are many 'proxy' methods that employers can discriminate on race, gender, religion, etc without actually putting oneself in legal danger.  For instance one can interview Daniel but not Darnell or Jose.  If one accidentally brings in a black person, then why not use a  credit report to solve the problem?  If it is part of policy then no one has a basis to complain.  That white person that was hired with equally bad credit was a completely different situation.

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