“Fail fast, fail often” is a slogan heard around Silicon Valley these days. The tech industry uses it to mean take risks and don’t be discouraged when your venture doesn’t work out- pack it up and start again.
However, this doesn’t apply to average, every day workers when employers are allowed to check an applicant’s credit report and deny him or her employment because of what it sees there. One bad turn of events can lead your average worker into debt or even bankruptcy, including illness, loss of a job, an accident, or yes, a failed business venture. It’s not difficult for a hard working person to end up owing more money than he can pay, and this leads to poor credit when he falls behind on bills. In these days of high late payment penalties and adjustable interest rates, it can be very difficult to recover from a situation that is not the result of laziness or bad spending habits.
There is a bill pending in Congress- supported by Connecticut’s two Senators- that would prohibit employers from disqualifying a job applicant based on information from his or her credit report. Read a recent article from www.ctpost.com This bill makes sense, for two related reasons.
First, what someone in a financial mess needs most of all is employment. A job will help this person dig out of his or her debt and support his or her family, repay creditors, and start again. It just doesn’t make sense to kick someone when he’s down and make the situation more dire because a job may be the only thing that will allow him to rebuild his finances. Said job may also allow the applicant to support himself without recourse to government assistance, which is good for the taxpayer. It’s good for the economy as well when people are able to repay their debts.
Second, as was alluded to above, credit reports don’t provide useful information about the quality of work an employee will perform or even his or her character.
A poor credit rating may simply mean that the applicant attempted to open a store, or run a business out of his home, and that the business didn’t succeed. The ability to try something, fail, and start over is a crucial part of the capitalist system, and should be encouraged, not penalized.
We wish the very best of luck to the supporters of this bill and thank our senators for supporting it!