Breaking News: Amendment to the FCRA Introduced to the House

Jason Morris

I'm just a billIt appears that  HR 3149 was introduced yesterday and Referred to Committee.  HR 3149 is a bill set to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.  EmployeeScreenIQ and EmployeeScreen University have written about this topic many times in the past.  As an industry, pre-employment credit reports are only suggested to be used when necessary and only for the responsibilities of that particular position.  In fact, the EEOC and FCRA already have provisions that the adverse information can only be used if it fits within the scope of the job. Most background screening programs only impliment this type of check as part of a much broader search.

Section three of the bill provides some exceptions but does not take into account most of them.  We suggest you spend some time reading this bill and write your congressperson to oppose it.  We agree the intent of this bill is to get more people to work.  However, as with most legislation, there are some unintended consequences.  There must be provisions for positions that could be negatively effected by a person with a poor credit history.  This 111th Congress has a horrible track record already for not even reading bills before voting.  Reach out and make a difference, make them read it, make them amend it!

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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  • Dawn Bush

    I am a single mother of three children who was left with a mountain of bills when my husband and I separated and divorced. I have been going to school for nearly four years now, with another two years to go (including internship)to better my future and that of my children. I chose a field that would prove to be not only interesting, but financially sound for the rest of my life. I find it disturbing that ANY employer would hold an individual’s debt as a determining factor of employment. This act would help some people in certain situations, but section three of this bill certainly will not help me, when I am attending college for a career in Economic Crime Investigation, where agencies (local and federal government) can still deny you a job based on your credit history. How am I suppose to pay off the bills that I OWE and live and support my children in trying to make a better life for us if provisions are going to keep me from becoming successful? This makes absolutely no sense to me and is very discouraging and frustrating.

  • JJ

    I agree with the comment above.

    I sincerely hope the Equal Employment for All Act passes. Sure, credit checks might be useful in some cases, but often it’s ridiculous to expect good credit to be correlated with good job performance. Further, credit checks often put potential employees in a catch-22. If they don’t have a job, they are more likely to have poor credit and thus more likely to remain unemployed. People of color on average have lower credit, making this a discriminatory practice. Not to mention that credit reports more often than not contain inaccuracies.

    If you would like to help us stop the often unfair and discriminatory practice of pre-employment credit checks, please join us.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=98502858415

    http://www.creditcatch22.org/

    Jason, this language of this bill already ensures that employers hiring for job categories where a credit check is appropriate will still be allowed to use a credit check.