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Legislation Would Limit Credit Checks By Employers

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Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks talks with Melissa Russ about her job search. (Credit: CBS)

Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks talks with Melissa Russ about her job search. (Credit: CBS)

LITTLETON, Colo (CBS4) People applying for a job are sometimes asked about their credit rating. A recent study, done by liberal think-tank Demos, found that about one-third of employers use credit checks on job applicants. That same study found that one in ten people have been denied jobs because of their credit report. It’s a practice that some Colorado lawmakers want to stop.

“A consequence of going into debt should not be being pushed further and further into debt because you can’t get a job,” said Senator Jessie Ulibarri, State Senate District 21.

Ulibarri is co-sponsoring a bill which would limit the use of consumer credit information for hiring decisions. The bill has already passed the Senate, and 8 other states across the country have similar laws. The bill does allow for credit checks for people working in positions dealing with money, like banks and financial institutions.

“In the last year, how many interviews have you had?” Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks asked Melissa Russ.

“None,” Russ replied.

“Not one?” Brooks asked.

“None,” Russ replied.

The college graduate has degrees in biology and chemistry. Russ has been out of work for a year. Every day she applies for a job, but still can’t get an interview. She is convinced it’s because she has bad credit.

“I have on-going medical bills, no employment, no way to pay them and it’s ruining my credit,” Russ explained.

Russ feels like the practice of using credit ratings in considering employment is ruining her chance to get back on her feet. She welcomes a law that would curb the practice.

“Your credit does not reflect your work ethic,” Russ told CBS4.

There is plenty of opposition to the bill. A variety of business organizations, including the Colorado Competitive Council, the Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association, JFS Public Affairs Group, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Contractors Association, Special District Association of Colorado, Colorado Motor Carriers of Colorado, the Jefferson County Business Lobby, GreenCO, and the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado, that have stepped up against it. These groups feel employers should not be told how to hire their employees.

Democrats and Republicans agree that the measure is likely to pass.
RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks

- Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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