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Michigan’s Job Applicant Credit Privacy Act Aimed at Protecting Residents

Michigan residents have been hit hard by the downturned U.S. economy. Underwater mortgages, job loss, student loan debt, high credit card debt and exorbitant medical costs have all contributed to the financial fallout faced by many Americans. As the economy begins to turn around, some struggling individuals have been able to get back on their feet and start the road to financial recovery. However, even those who have seen improvement are finding that their damaged credit history may be coming back to haunt them. Residents who have lost their jobs are seeking employment and now finding that they are being rejected due to their credit history, personal finances and amount of debt.

Protecting Job Seekers with Bad Credit

In response to this problem, Michigan State Representative Jon Switalski and others have introduced a new bill, the Job Applicant Credit Privacy Act (HB4363) aimed at protecting people who have damaged credit or a blemished financial history as a result of trying economic times. According to Congressman Switalski, “There is no correlation between how good somebody’s credit is and how good they do as an employee.” Employers should not be able to discriminate against job applicants simply because of their credit score.

This is the second time such a bill has been introduced in Michigan. However, this time there is bipartisan support to protect residents trying to find employment from possible discrimination and an invasion of privacy due to past financial hardship. As a result, supporters of the bill are optimistic that it will pass and offer protections to job seeking residents hurt by the Great Recession.

Opponents of the bill contend that financial background checks of potential employees are common practice, particularly in the financial industry where an individual’s private finances are considered an indication of responsibility, as reported by the Michigan Policy Network. However, even opponents must admit that credit checks are not fool proof and mistakes do occur. It is possible that these errors may lead to an employee losing his or her job, or a potential employee facing rejection. Mistakes like these are examples of injustices the Job Applicant Credit Privacy Act is intended to protect against and prevent.

Though the responsibility of a potential worker is a valid consideration for employers, bill supporters believe this can be accomplished through different means and maintain that applicants being denied employment due to their financial history is discriminatory in nature. In these tough economic times, Michigan workers should all have an opportunity to succeed regardless of economic hardship, much of which has been beyond a person’s control. If passed, the Job Applicant Credit Privacy Act may be a step in the right direction to help Michigan residents gain employment and start rebuilding their credit and finances.

If you have any questions about the Act and how it could impact you, please speak to a Michigan attorney knowledgeable in debt relief matters. If you have experienced financial difficulties and suffer from bad credit, there are options to help you improve your credit score over time. Consult with a lawyer to discuss credit counseling options and what you can do to start rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy or other debt-related matter.