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Not hiring applicants because of their debt?

When many people in Queens are being considered for a position, they are often asked to agree to a background check. Employers seem to think that they can find out more about an applicant by hiring an outside company to dig up his or her past than by working with the individual. Sadly, sometimes the results of those checks may lead to an employer passing on the applicant for someone else, and sometimes using a background check to pass over someone could be considered hiring discrimination.

But it is not just background checks that some employers are using. There are a number of employers that request credit checks to see if their applicants are in debt or have a bad credit rating before making an offer. Not only does this seem to be an invasion of privacy, but it also has no connection as to whether the applicant will perform well at work.

So, in an effort to prevent employers from using credit checks against applicants, several members of the New York City Council are standing behind a bill that would prevent discriminating in hiring based on personal credit histories. Whether the bill will pass remains to be seen, but, if it does, it would be one of the strictest protections of applicants' credit histories.

It seems odd that employers would discriminate against people because of debt, especially considering the poor economic conditions that have ravaged the city in years past. As the lead sponsor of the bill has asked, "How can you pay your debt, if you can't get a job?"

Source: The Huffington Post, "Will New York City Lead the Fight Against Employment Discrimination?" Amy Traub, April 11, 2014

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