Representative Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, has introduced H.R. 645 in the House of Representatives. The legislation would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to prohibit employers from using credit reports in the hiring process as well as prohibit the use of credit reports for the purpose of making adverse employment decisions. The only exceptions to this would be for jobs which require a security clearance, are with state or local government, or for certain individuals working in the financial industry (i.e., supervisory, managerial, professional, or executive positions). The legislation is short sighted and employers should be concerned about it as checking a prospective employee’s credit history as part of a background check is relevant to determine the possibility of risk to the financial health of a business or its customers. Rep. Cohen has introduced this legislation in multiple Congresses and the legislation continues to miss the mark as generally employers only use credit reports in situations where they feel that someone’s credit history is relevant to the position in question. If this legislation passes, it means employers would not be able to consider one’s credit history as part of a background check by a background screening company for lawyers, cashiers, pharmacists, NBA referees, executives in non-financial institutions, jewelers, academic financial aid offices, Human Resources employees, procurement employees and so on.
Check out the bill and see if your representative is a co-sponsor of the bill as so far the legislation has 29 co-sponsors. The bill, the Equal Employment for All Act is pending in the House Financial Services Committee. You can contact your member of Congress to share your concerns about the legislation by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking to be directed to your members office.