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Credit Checks As Part Of Employer Background Checks: Fair?

I get that for some positions and career tracks a financial background check should be done. Careers in financial services, senior executives who deal with budgets, banks and most of their staff regardless if they touch the cash. Sure there are more to list.

But I wonder if a credit check is needed for someone developing logistics software. Or how about a PR Director. I doubt for a Recruiter or HR professional and yet they are the ones involved in this process.

That’s what I think anyway.

I have seen studies that show there is no correlation between credit score and job performance. I am guessing though there are others show some proof that bad scores and fraud cases correlate.

Let me get to the here and now, with what has happened to millions of people who have been hit hard in this economy, will this be held against them?

It seems that companies continue to put in place these barriers, walls and policies to make it even more easy to exclude one from the employment process. Clearly this has been an issue I have shouted against for years. Like we do not already make it near impossible for people to get a job.


In this article from SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Maryland, Other States Weigh Limits on Credit Checks for Employment some states are trying to limit this practice.

The article gives some stats from a 2009 SHRM survey showing:

While the full report has not yet been released, she noted, the SHRM survey found that 47 percent of respondents limit their use of credit background checks to job candidates for certain types of positions, 40 percent do not conduct this type of background check on any job candidates, and 13 percent conduct credit checks on all candidates.

And this article about how it is impacting job seekers right now Credit checks choke job hunters' efforts.

What do you think, is this needed? Maybe for some jobs and not others? Should companies be allowed to decide or should legislation?

Here is the conversation from CNBC yesterday as “both sides” gave their pitch:



Credit checks as a condition of any employment should be outlawed. There is no evidence that your credit score is related to job performance.

In fact, by trying to link hiring to your credit score, companies are discriminating against potential employees without regard to the consequences of such actions. Refusing to hire people who meet or exceed the "right" credit score has the effect of reducing their credit score further for lack of income. A self-fulfilling prophecy, even though it's completely unrelated to their ability to do the job, and do it well.

That's why it should be prohibited under federal law.


Credit score can be a baseline indicator of how responsible a person is--if they handle their personal finances well, they are probably very responsible.


Mulder makes a good point that this can really create a vicious circle for people -- it's hard for them to get their lives together and overcome their financial problems if they can't get a decent job with which to do so. If we want people to be self-reliant and productive members of society, then we can't throw up barriers like this to prevent people from doing it.

As for the responsibility indicator -- maybe it is, maybe it isn't. People's individual situations are so varied, especially nowadays, that you really can't make that call from a simple credit score. You don't know if they lost their house because they got burned trying to flip investment properties, or because they had to move and couldn't sell it because it was underwater. You don't know if someone went bankrupt because they have a gambling problem, or because their insurance was not enough to cover major medical bills.

Ron Congress

70+ Million Americans Suffered “Bad Credit” (Previous to July ’09) long before the full economic collapse – that’s more than 1/3 of the entire population between 20 and 75 years old

379,000 Bankruptcies Filed Q1, 2010, (17 percent increase over Q1, 2009 during a year in a year which they soared upward by 32%)

35% Increase in Foreclosures and a 16% Increase in Foreclosure Notices Q1, 2010 (over Q1, 2009) and 1 in every 4 Homes in America are at least 10+ % “underwater.”

In survey after survey, including a recent MSNBC survey, more than 90 percent of Americans say that workplace discrimination based upon someone’s personal credit report is wrong and should be illegal. ZERO statistical evidence exists to tie bad credit reports to fraud! It’s already illegal in 3 states and HR3149: The Equal Employment for All Act would make it illegal in every state, but most Americans don’t even know the legislation exists. Please support the overwhelming will of the people and the rights of highly qualified American workers to compete on a level playing field during this horrible economic disaster. Join our FB PAG at: or shoot us an e-mail at with”sign me up” in the subject line.


Anyone checking your Personal & Private credit report for a job is wrong, & it needs outlawed on the national level. HR 3149 Equal Employment For All Act would make it so. This Bill has been sitting stalled on the House Floor since being drafted by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) in July of 2009 because of the propaganda that SHRM, the Credit Bureaus, & people like Jacob in the video are selling. It's all to keep people down instead of helping them get back up.

And due to all the dirty money & dirty backroom deal makings from lobbyists, PAC $$, the credit bureaus, & even SHRM are selling this bogus propaganda to brainwash corporations into believing they need this worthless piece of paper, they're getting rich while lying to the companies, & "bribing" the politicians to kill this bill.

Credit reports, as even stated by the numb-nut up above, do not depict one's character or moral ethics. If there were any correlation between a credit report and theft, then American CEO's such as Bernie Madoff, Ken Lewis, Kenneth Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernard Ebbers and Richard Fuld wouldn’t be either already convicted, or under investigation, for “stealing” millions and millions from their companies. The American elite and Congress operate by different rules when it comes to credit reports, corruption and stealing. The more corrupt they become, the better their credit reports get, while “the peoples” credit reports suffer to a point of never being allowed to work again.

Under the Bill of Rights & the Constitution, they are denying "the people" the right to work. When you deny a well qualified human being the right to work in America-- you violate the core principals of justice set down by our founding fathers and prevent millions & millions of Americans from affording food and shelter, the basic requirements to sustain life. Plus, credit reports contain up to 78% egregious and erroneous inaccuracies, which can take years to fix, unlike the 30-60 days the credit bureaus would have you believe. Meanwhile, "the people" are being turned down for jobs because of this.

This discriminatory practice of pulling credit reports was always wrong, and from the start has always been a gross invasion of Americans’ privacy. This practice didn't even exist 15 years ago. Credit reports were designed originally to qualify someone for a mortgage, & then later used for other loan types. "The People" are not asking to borrow money when applying for work.

The information has always been used by employers to low ball wages and intimidate employees based upon the level of desperation depicted in their credit report – while employers use the smoke screen of saying the information is used to protect them from fraud and theft. It’s “the people” that need protection from corrupt politicians and dirty corporate money . . . not the other way around! You can track the dirty money here:

Call your Reps., Senators, Governors, & Barney Frank's Office at the Financial Services Committee & demand that HR 3149 be put on the Docket NOW, to be heard & voted on. Barney Frank's # is 202-225-5931. Join our Facebook Political Activist Group here:

And tell everyone you know about HR 3149, & tell them to tell everyone they know, as we all know someone, who knows someone that's been beaten & kicked by this economic crisis.

And here's something else many are not aware of. Our U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Here's some recent research about them.

U.S. Chamber offers four membership levels: Signature ($500), Advantage ($2500), Elite ($5000), and Committee of 100 (Price to be "discussed"). I hope the average business in America has no money to waste on their membership fees. Why are businesses suffering? Because people have no jobs, & no money to spend in their stores. They are actually hurting their membership numbers with this credit check policy.

They are funneling money in to defeat HR 3149. What a bunch of moronic idiots. I am boycotting all Chamber of Commerce companies! When you see that Chamber sticker in the window or on their website let that company know you don't do business with Chamber of Commerce businesses because of their low pay, anti-union stance that rewards big corporations, big banks, & credit reporting agencies. And that you do not endorse the Lobbyist stance that the Chamber has taken.

Go to the US Chamber Website, & Select an Issue. Check out these Chamber of Commerce "issues" that they are spending over 200 million on each year. Do you see Bankruptcy there? They were opposed to people being able to file BK. They are also Anti-Labor Union, Low pay advocates who believe employees don't need benefits. This organization needs to be put down. I think most of us will agree, we had NO IDEA how insidious the Chamber has become in depriving the American worker a decent wage with benefits. If we win HR3149, I will keep on outing this organization for what it is.

And call your local Chamber TODAY, & tell them we will fight them tooth & nail. We will NEVER become Chamber members if they continue on like this, & we will tell everyone we know to never join the Chamber. For every business owner who belongs to the Chamber there is a family member somewhere, be it a brother, sister, or child who is affected by credit checks in the work place. Let's hope business owners see this practice offers them NO LEVEL of protection what so ever. It is a useless business expense meant to rob them and deny the American worker a job. How dare the Chamber support a useless bunch of overhead all in the name of big banks and credit reporting agencies.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20062-2000
Main Number: 202-659-6000
Comment Line 202 955-1165

Call and tell CEO Tom Donahue you will boycott every Chamber of Commerce business you know unless they stop lobbying to defeat HR3149!

J Michael,

Come on.. People get bad credit for lot of reasons - illness of a family member, spouse filing a divorce :), entrepreneurial project.. these should not be a reason for getting rejected in a job offer, especially in logistics..

J Michael | Post Consulting jobs FREE at

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