We’re moving forward and the use of employment credit checks has never had more news coverage in a single week than with this week’s hearing by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For some of the coverage simply click on the links we’ve provided on our group wall, but the following link was the most high profile and the best we’ve seen: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102300314.html?hpid=topnews
Please send the writer an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to thank her for the article and encourage her to provide more reporting on this critical issue. Coverage in the WP is as good as it gets for our cause and we need more of it. You may also want to include some of the information contained in the sample letter below.
Please Mail Five Letters this Week to the EEOC
Ms. Jacqueline Berrien, Chair
Mr. Stuart J. Ishimaru, Commissioner
Ms. Constance S. Barker, Commissioner
Ms. Chai Feldblum, Commissioner
Ms. Victoria A. Lipnic, Commissioner
Mailing Address for All Five Letters:
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, NEWashington, DC 20507
As evidenced by your hearing last week on the use of credit checks within the employment arena, I’m encouraged that you’re finally beginning to address the issue. With that said however, I’m alarmed at two issues: 1) The massive amount of misinformation being pumped into the discussion and 2) The lack of concern and sense of immediate need on the part of the commission. I’ll address the misinformation first:
* This is NOT some small insignificant problem impacting only a few black and Hispanic people.
* Fair, Isaac and Company (FICO) just reported that as of April 2010, 43.4 million of America's 170 million consumers had credit scores below 599. That's more than 25 percent of all consumers in this country, up from the pre-recession tally of 15 percent, or 25.5 million consumers. FICO's benchmark for "bad credit" is anything under 650, and anything under 700 is considered a "moderate credit" number. The number of recession-damaged Americans with credit scores under 700 is now 75 million, or 44.1 percent of consumers.
* Virtually no one within any company or corporate HR department has any training, yardstick or clue as to how and by what measure to evaluate a consumer credit report.
* Virtually no one has or ever will be given any opportunity to “explain their credit report” (nor should they have to with an employer). The employer simply moves on to the next applicant . . . job filled.
* Virtually no company ever follows the current laws in place whereby an applicant is notified they were denied employment due to their credit report. The company just moves on to the next candidate and says they were a “better fit.” The law is not monitored or enforced by the FTC contrary to their testimony.
With just some of the misinformation corrected above, please consider first and foremost that employment credit checks are a gross invasion of an individual’s privacy. Everyone in America should be allowed to work if they are willing and ZERO evidence exists to validate or document that someone with poor credit is more likely to steal or commit fraud within the workplace. The “living beyond one’s means” criteria used in testimony does not hold water, because that describes 85% of the American population. Do you live beyond your means?
In closing, the issue of employment credit checks is the No. 1 issue in America along with jobs and the economy. With damaged credit, in America, you don’t work anywhere that pays a living wage . . . end of story. With 30+ million un or under-employed Americans someone out of the five applicants for every job will still have good credit and they get the job . . . it’s just that simple!
Imagine for a moment, if you can, that you don’t have a big job at the EEOC and you are well qualified to work but have damaged credit. You have two children at home that need to be clothed and fed and everywhere you apply to work you’re turned down because of your credit report. Children are starving and people are committing suicide because of employment credit checks . . . that’s the reality!
So when you conclude that the issue “needs more research and study” ask yourself how many more children will starve and how many more people will die while you are studying the issue? Ask yourself if “more study” would be acceptable if it was your children starving?
Employment credit checks are one thing and one thing ONLY: a money making revenue stream for the big three credit bureaus. They have no validity or relevance in the workplace whatsoever. No research or evidence backs up their use within the employment arena. More than 75 million of your fellow Americans don’t have the time or luxury for “more study.” There is no food on the table, there are rags on the backs of our children, our homes are being taken away and our cars are being repossessed . . . all so the big three credit bureaus can make a buck and for no other reason whatsoever.
I ask you to move and move quickly with any further “study” to end this horrible practice that should have never been allowed to begin in the first place. Now, however, during the Great Recession it is more important than ever before.
[End Sample Letter]