For Immediate Release
June 14, 2011
Bill to Limit Use of Credit Reports in Hiring Passes Legislature
State Representative Matt Lesser (D-Durham, Middlefield and Middletown) announced passage during the final hours of this year’s legislative session of a bill (SB361) he sponsored to protect the privacy of job applicants' credit reports.
"In this economy, people can have bad credit for all kinds of reasons - there is no necessary link between your credit score and your job performance," said Lesser, who has been fighting for similar consumer protection legislation for the past three years.
Lesser cited stories from constituents, like David Greaves of Middletown who found employers turning him away because of his credit.
"You can get caught in a credit catch-22," said Lesser. "Laid off from your job, you max out your credit cards and then find you can't get a job because your credit is shot. The credit industry is telling employers that people with bad credit are lousy employees - but there is zero evidence of this."
Specifically, the bill prohibits employers from requiring an employee or prospective employee to consent to a credit inquiry as a condition of employment. Certain businesses, like financial institutions, could use credit checks when the credit history of the applicant is substantially job related, when it is otherwise required by law or when an employer has specific reason to believe an employee may have violated the law.
Over half of employers examine the credit histories of employees and job applicants.
“Connecticut has taken a powerful step to stop the inequitable practice of screening employees and potential employees based on their credit histories. Research shows that there is no credible evidence that negative credit reports correlate to job performance. I congratulate Connecticut on increasing job opportunities for workers that had been unfairly shut out of employment,” said Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Connecticut Secretary of the State. “
Lesser attributed this year’s passage of the bill to the strong leadership on the issue from Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and House Speaker Christopher Donovan.
State Representative Matt Lesser is serving his second term representing the 100th Assembly District of Durham, Middlefield, Rockfall and Middletown. He is Vice Chair of the state legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee.