One concern many of our clients have when they are considering a personal bankruptcy is how it will impact their employment. It is important to understand that the law prohibits an employer from firing you simply because you have sought bankruptcy protection.
Now that you know your job is safe, you are still probably concerned with whether or not your employer will find out about your bankruptcy filing. All bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record, which means that if somebody is searching to discover your bankruptcy information, he or she may be able to find it. However, it requires work on their part and most employers are not that concerned as long as your filing does not affect your ability to do your job.
A system called “PACER” (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is used by the bankruptcy courts to manage filings. If somebody wants to view the documents filed in your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, they must obtain a PACER account and pay any applicable fees for reviewing or printing the pleadings. An interested party could also personally appear at the bankruptcy court clerk’s office and ask to view your file. Both of these options are a hassle and take time.
Some states still publish notifications of bankruptcy hearings, but the legal publications are usually only read by lawyers. This type of notification typically publishes only the debtor’s last name, the case number and the date and time of the hearing. This minimal amount of information is unlikely to alert your employer of your filing.
Finally, the only parties that receive written notice of your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case are your creditors. Most employees do not owe their employer money, so they are not included on the creditor matrix. However, if you file a Chapter 13 case and you elect to have your Chapter 13 plan payments made by automatic deductions from your paycheck, the person in charge of payroll for your employer will be notified of your bankruptcy and instructed to withhold the monthly payments from your wages.
If you are considering filing a bankruptcy and you need help determining which type of filing would be best for you, contact Fitzgerald & Campbell to schedule an appointment. We do not offer just one debt relief option, we don’t push you in one direction. If bankruptcy right for you, we will tell you. If it’s not, we will tell you that. If bankruptcy is your get out of debt plan, it needs to be done right. It needs to be in the hands of experienced lawyers who have been there before. Contact us today!