Employers access all types of information about job applicants. An employer may (and pretty much always does) conduct a criminal background check, request and call references, search and review your social media accounts, and possibly perform a credit check.
While employers have the ability to find out some credit information about potential employees, many do not bother unless an employee will be handling money or taking on some financial responsibilities. According to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 53% of hiring managers said that their organizations did not use credit information when hiring a new employee.
Additionally, it has been increasingly common for states across the country to legally restrict the types of information—including credit information—that employers can access when reviewing job applicants.
The credit report that an employer accesses is different that the credit report that you receive when you run your own credit. The employer does not receive the applicant’s overall credit score, his or her birth date, and the credit check will not harm the applicant’s credit.
In general, hiring managers are not concerned with a person’s overall credit score anyway, but are rather looking for patterns of financial irresponsibility. When employees who handle money have a history of not paying debts, the company may think twice before hiring that person. In contrast, one large debt due to medical bills or something similar might not be a problem because it has nothing to do with the applicant’s general financial history.
If an employer wants to run a credit check, the company must receive the applicant’s permission. The company does not have the ability to run a check without your knowledge; usually, you will sign a specific authorization document as part of the interview process. If you do not want the company to have access to your credit information, you are under no obligation to sign the document. However, doing so may result in the employer terminating the application process.
Most of the time, companies that do check credit information do so as part of a general background check done by a third party. Often an employer will use these companies to verify an applicant’s information, like where that person graduated from school.
Companies that use an individual’s credit information have a responsibility to guard that data carefully. If that data is lost or used for illegal or discriminatory purposes, the applicant may be able to file a lawsuit.
If you have come upon hard times making the payment of bills impossible, you need the help of an experienced debtor rights attorney—like those at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC—to review your case and discuss your options with you, whether that means bankruptcy, a negotiated settlement or lawsuit. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of consumer rights matters, including bankruptcy, and we are here to help you!