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Hartford Council Bans Employee Credit Checks

HARTFORD — As if getting a job isn’t hard enough. A Hartford law required credit checks for all job applicants.

Upon learning that, City Councilman Luis Cotto took action. That’s because according to the city’s law, Cotto said he would have been eliminated from the pool of job applicants.

So on May 9, the Hartford Court of Common Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits the city from performing credit checks as part of the employment process for city jobs.

Hartford claims to be the first municipality in the nation to enact such legislation and the first jurisdiction not to exempt any positions from the prohibition.

“It is a myth that credit checks are reliable predictor of employee performance or fraud,” Cotto said. “Even one of TransUnion’s own lobbyists admitted that they have no statistical evidence that credit checks can illuminate anything about future improprieties.”

Supporters of the law said that using credit checks as part of the background research on candidates for employment is a needless barrier that unfairly targets minorities and the poor, making it even more difficult for those traditionally unable to find good paying jobs.

Council President rJo Winch and Council Corey Brinson also signed on as co-sponsors.

“Credit checks is just another barrier used to prevent people from getting jobs,” Winch said.

Avid supporters of the ban also point to a study published by the nonpartisan think tank, DEMOS,  to support their claim. According to the study, employees with low credit scores had no greater likelihood of committing fraud or having poor performance than anyone else.

Furthermore, the study showed that employees who were more than 30 days late in payments to their creditors had slightly better performance than the average.


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