Senator wants credit checks, ratings banned from hiring process

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Bad credit will no longer prevent job seekers from landing a position if a senator from Massachusetts has anything to say about it.

Nearly half of employers use credit checks in their hiring decisions.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and six of her colleagues want to ban that practice with the Equal Employment for All Act.

Many believe that credit ratings offer insight into a person's responsibility and character. Warren says that's not the case at all.

"A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual's character or abilities," Warren said in a news release. "Families have not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and too many Americans are still searching for jobs. This is about basic fairness -- let people compete on the merits, not on whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills."

Warren also cited a study by the Federal Trade Commission that suggests mistakes on credit reports are common and can be extremely difficult to correct.

"It makes no sense to make it harder for people to get jobs because of a system of credit reporting that has no correlation with job performance and that can be riddled with inaccuracies," Warren said.

While more than 40 organizations back the Warren's proposal, it does not have bi-partisan support in the Senate.

Warren's Senate Web site describes the Democrat as "a fearless consumer advocate who has made her life's work the fight for middle class families," who is "recognized as one of the nation's top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families."

Warren based her bill, which she introduced Tuesday, on a similar measure introduced in the House in 2011.

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