Takoma Park These days a working stiff, or worse, someone trying to desert the vast army of the unemployed and pick you a pay envelope again, seems to be screwed in different was almost every day. Today’s news details how the unemployed are being penalized in getting jobs…uh, largely because their unemployed, and not surprisingly are having credit problems. The notion that the credit rating companies with their long records of abuse and misinformation are now arbiters of employed is enough to send all of us back to our beds!
An article in the Times pointed out one or two states that have moved to ban or restrict this practice, and, god darned, if I didn’t have to work for a living, I would move to Hawaii as well, all of which means our work…or lack of it…is cut out for us. Regardless, look at these quotes:
Courts have not been sympathetic to claims that discrimination is being cloaked in credit checks, said Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a law professor at the University of Iowa. “At what point does the fact that someone lives in a particular neighborhood or someone has a bad credit score become a way of eliminating people for illegal grounds?” she asked rhetorically. “Basically, the courts don’t protect against proxy discrimination.”
Stuart J. Ishimaru, the acting chairman of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said the commission would probably issue guidance on the proper use of credit checks. Such guidance, though nonbinding, could offer some reassurance against lawsuits to employers who comply. “It’s something that intrigues us and worries us,” Mr. Ishimaru said, adding that some job-related tests had led to discrimination claims in the past. “The question is, why do you use it? How is this a good screening device?”
“Proxy discrimination,” “redlining,” and similarly veiled questions are big, big trouble for all of us. In these days and times when people are living on credit cards, fighting foreclosures with almost no help as every new report reveals, trying to seek bankruptcy if they can qualify, having good credit is a hard mountain to climb. Now finding that credit “blemishes” could keep you out of jobs where you have skills and qualifications is a kick in the gut.
The EEOC should do something, but any organization or individual who knows a state legislature should mention to them that we don’t want to move to Hawaii, so how about a little help at home. If you can’t get us a job then at least do something to keep us away from job discrimination.