New bill wants to limit credit checks in job hiring

Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
POSTED: 01:29 PM MST Mar 07, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

A bill discussed in a Colorado state legislature house committee Thursday wants to limit credit checks conducted by employers when screening job applicants.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, D-District 21, and Rep. Randy Fischer, D-District 53.  According the bill, it seeks to create the "Employment Opportunity Act" to specify specific purposes for consumer credit information.

It wants to prohibit employers from running credit checks when its not relevant to the position.  Also, it would require employers to tell applicants when credit information hurt their chances for the position.

A group called Demos recently surveyed human resource professionals. It found credit checks weren't just used for high-level management jobs, employers even ran credit checks for delivery drivers and office assistants.

It discovered one in 10 people were denied jobs because of their credit scores.  Dana Barton with Pikes Peak Workforce Center said there are many factors that play into an applicant's credit score.

"Many times its been because they've been laid off so they lost their paychecks and haven't been able to pay their bills or they have an unexpected medical emergency and the bills pile up," said Barton.

She says there are times when credit checks are relevant.

"Some positions do require you have good credit if you're in a financial position or something fiduciary responsibility in the organization," said Barton.

Right now, employers are legally required to report any negatives findings from the credit check. 

Alonzo Abeyta is job-hunting and trying to keep a good credit score.

"Not everybody has a wonderful credit score," said Abeyta.

He said credit checks go too far.

"I think today's market needs people that doesn't need to be background checked that much.  I think the background check is going a little bit too far these days," said Abeyta.

The bill is up for a third reading in the state senate next week.