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Credit Checks Surprise Job Applicants

Credit checks not related to their jobs are a surprise factor in being turned down for employment, U.S. job seekers said.

“Why would they need to pull a credit report? They’d need something like that if you were applying at a bank,” said Juan Ochoa, who found interest in his application for a data entry clerk position disappeared after the firm checked his credit history.

The Society for Human Resource Management said the number of firms using credit histories to screen applicants had risen from 25 percent in 1998 to more than 40 percent.

The usefulness and legality of the practice is in debate in several states, where lawmakers are attempting to restrict the practice, The New York Times reported Friday.

A bad credit history “raises a flag with me,” said Anita Orozco, director of human resources at Sonneborn, a petrochemical company. “If you see a history of bad decision-making, you don’t want that decision-making overflowing into your organization,” she said.

“In my opinion, it’s discrimination,” said Michigan state representative Jon Switalski.

“If you miss a few payments or you have medical debt, your skills as a pipe fitter or an electrician don’t diminish.”

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