According to September 2010 congressional testimony by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), credit checks are a useful tool to “assess the skills, abilities, work habits and integrity of potential hires.” However, SHRM states that only 20 percent of employers conduct credit checks on all applicants. Fifty-seven percent of these employers perform the checks only after contingent offers, and 30 percent after job interviews; 65 percent allow job candidates to explain their credit results before the hiring decision is made, and 22 percent accept explanations after the hiring decision.

A bill in the U.S. House, called the Equal Employment for All Act, would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to ban the use of credit checks on prospective and current employees for employment purposes, with the following exceptions:

  • jobs that require national security or Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. clearance;
  • jobs in state or local government that require the use of credit reports;
  • supervisory, managerial, and executive positions in financial institutions.

The states of Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii, and Washington already have passed laws to prevent employers from using credit reports in employment decisions.