Illinois Seeks to Ban Employer Credit Report Checks
Illinois may become the third state to ban the practice of running credit reports for job applicants. Lawmakers in the state House passed the Employer Credit Privacy Act, which must now be considered by the Illinois Senate before becoming law. Hawaii and Washington have already passed similar laws, which backers claim will help reduce unemployment rates by allowing job seekers to put financial problems behind them.

The law's sponsor, Representative Jack Franks, hopes employers will recognize that some of his constituents have been forced to make drastic financial choices by the recession. Walking away from a bad mortgage or allowing a credit card account to become delinquent shouldn't prevent an otherwise qualified candidate from receiving a job offer, according to the bill's proponents.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act already prohibits prospective employers from performing credit checks on applicants without specific authorization. However, critics of the practice point out that many applicants gloss over the fine print on many job hunting websites and on electronic job applications. State initiatives to outlaw the practice would still permit credit checks for banking and law enforcement jobs.

About the Author


Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.