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Sometimes you hear people complain about the use of pre-employment credit checks as part of the hiring process. They say, “My bad credit shouldn’t be an issue in whether I can do the job. I’m being discriminated against.” Are they right?
Kansas City Star business columnist Diane Stafford takes up that issue in her recent column titled: Credit checks a legal part of pre-employment investigations Her bottom line is that “credit checks are a legal and in some cases appropriate part of pre-employment investigations. And there’s only a glimmer of a chance that credit checks might be considered discriminatory.”
In most cases, you won’t decide not to hire a person based on their credit history per se. You’ll make the decision based on fitness for a particular job or because the credit check points to other issues.
Obviously a person’s credit history has a greater bearing on your decision to hire for specific positions. You’ll pay more attention to it in cases where people will have access to money or where judgment is a factor. You’ll pay less attention if you’re hiring a receptionist.
But in both cases, you want to use the credit history as an indicator of areas to check further, not as a simple black and white hiring choice. Some reasons for doing a pre-employment credit check have nothing to do with credit.
The information on a pre-employment credit check gives you an independent source of information on the job history that you can compare with what’s on a resume or application. If things don’t match up, investigate further.
One more thing. Make sure you apply the same tests and checks to everyone seeking the same position. That’s one reason why running a criminal background check and a pre-employment credit check on all potential hires is a good idea.