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Cohen still pitching bill to end credit-check screening of job applicants

Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis on Wednesday made another pitch to Congress for support of legislation he has introduced to end the practice of using credit checks to screen job applicants. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis on Wednesday made another pitch to Congress for support of legislation he has introduced to end the practice of using credit checks to screen job applicants.

Pivoting off of a Sunday New York Times editorial, Cohen, speaking on the House floor, said, credit checks have no proven correlation to fraud in the workplace or a person’s ability to perform a job.

Cohen said the Equal Employment For All Bill would outlaw the practice of using credit checks to deny employment, noting that five states already have disallowed the practice, with 20 states considering it.

“We need to create jobs and give everybody a chance,” said Cohen. “Many people have bad credit because of this economy, because of the recession, because of health care costs that have almost forced them into bankruptcy or have, or divorces. They should not be denied the chance to have a job, a second chance.”

According to the New York Times editorial, intensive marketing by the credit reporting industry has resulted in about 60 percent of employers now doing credit checks on job applicants – up from less than 20 percent in the mid-1990s.

Noting that nearly 45 million Americans have damaged credit, the editorial concluded that “using a credit record as a key factor in hiring could marginalize millions of families and create a new, credit-record underclass.”

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