Credit Score Articles

Massachusetts to mull legislation on credit checks

In the past few years, more employers have begun the practice of running credit checks on those that apply for jobs with them. This has many unemployed consumers with spotty credit histories as a result of the recession locked in a cycle of being unable to get a job simply because they don't have one.

According to a report from Boston public radio station WBUR, one gubernatorial candidate wants to push legislation that would make this practice illegal. Tim Cahill, the Bay State's current treasurer, who is running as an independent against Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick and Republican challenger Charlie Baker, says that a poor credit score should not prevent an otherwise qualified applicant from getting a job.

"People haven't broken the law when they fall behind on their bills and I don't think it should be a crime or it should keep you from getting a job if you've missed a mortgage payment," Cahill told the station. "Because in a lot of cases the reason you've missed that payment is because you don't have a job."

He added that there is more to a consumer than their credit score, and for employers to limit anyone's chances at a job opportunity, or even deny them an interview, because of that is unfair. Cahill also said that 60 percent of employers now run credit checks on those they are considering for jobs. That number was 40 percent just four years ago.

A separate report from the Worcester Telegram said that while the proposed law will not be considered by the state's legislature this year, Cahill will file a finalized version of the bill if he is elected governor. His proposed bill would allow exemptions for businesses like banks and financial institutions, as well as law enforcement agencies.

The Telegram's report also said that this law would extend to businesses' current employees, who would not be able to be fired or demoted based on their credit, nor could they be discriminated against with regard to raises or promotions. Cahill said the bill gave a fair chance to everyone, calling it important for the middle class who are trying to catch up if they've fallen behind, or get ahead if they've been able to keep their head above water.