How Your Debt Could Prevent You From Getting A Job
According to the Huffington Post Canada, an Ontario man was rejected a job offer because of his credit history. The man spoke to The Huffington Post Canada after he was given a conditional offer from TD Insurance Meloche Monnex for a job as an insurance advisor. Starting salary was set at $52,000 a year — the best offer he has received after holding several jobs at other well-known insurance companies. He did not want to be identified in the story for fear it would hurt his ongoing search for a job in the insurance industry.
According to the story, the offer was conditional, however, on the results of a criminal and credit check. So he signed forms authorizing the probe into his financial past. He says that two weeks later, TD called to retract the offer based on what it viewed as unfavourable credit.
The financial industry helped pioneer the use of credit checks to screen employees. TD says every candidate given an employment offer is asked for consent for the bank to perform a “comprehensive” background check.
Applicants to chains like Tim Hortons have also reported being asked to submit to a credit check. However in 2010, Mark’s Work Warehouse, a popular clothing chain in Canada, agreed to stop carrying out credit checks of job applicants following a complaint to Alberta’s privacy commissioner.
The retailer said credit checks helped assess the risk of in-store theft, but the province ruled the credit information wasn’t “reasonably required” to determine whether someone might steal from the store. In the case of Mark’s Work Warehouse, the complainant had applied for a job as a sales associate. During the interview process he signed a declaration of understanding for a credit check. The company did a credit check on the applicant and asked him about a credit issue that was unresolved. The applicant did not get the job.
In the United States, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have enacted measures limiting the use of credit reports when determining whether a person is the right fit for a job.
New York City recently announced that lawmakers are expected to pass a bill prohibiting employers from reviewing the credit histories of prospective workers. According to the New York Daily News, in addition to banning credit reports on a prospective employee, the bill also prohibits employers from asking people what their credit score is in job interviews.
Last year, a parliamentary committee pulled representatives from the country’s leading credit-reporting agencies into the same room to talk about the economic repercussions of identity theft and credit report data.
Under current legislation in Canada, TD and other employers are allowed to conduct credit checks, but only if they get permission from the candidate to do so. Currently, human rights legislation in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Quebec limits an employer’s ability to use criminal record information when making employment decisions.
There is a growing debate of the issue of an applicants credit history for employment purposes. Credit reports sometimes also list information that could be used to also screen out applicants like a person’s age. And if employers reject candidates based on that information or something else revealed in the report, that may be considered grounds for discrimination.
Source: Huffington Post Canada.