Jul 29, 2010

MA: Cahill Stands Up Against Credit Checks in Job Screening

Though many observers have noted MA Independent gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill has been tacking right in his campaign thus far, his position in favor of barring employers from using credit checks to screen potential employees may attract support from liberal Democrats.  From the Boston Herald:
Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, the independent candidate for governor, said yesterday he wants to create a law that would bar employers from using credit checks to screen job applicants.  Cahill conceded that it’s probably too late to pass such a law this year, with the legislative session set to end Saturday, but said he would like to make the change next year to help people get back in the workforce.

“Prospective employers are looking at their credit history and using it as a job qualifier or job disqualifier,’’ he said at a news conference on the steps of the State House. “And we think that’s wrong.’’ Cahill said that with unemployment “a major issue’’ for middle-class residents, the legislation would increase the hiring prospects for people with past credit problems.
A number of bloggers have been debating the issue of credit checks in job screening over the last few days.  Earlier this week, Kevin Drum wrote at Mother Jones:
Should we ban businesses from pulling your credit score as part of their hiring process? Megan McArdle thinks it's a lousy practice, but not one that the government should prohibit:
I've no doubt that there are a few people out there who have been unjustly hurt by this; but we cannot regulate every bad business decision that hurts a few people. Each regulation may sound fine on its own, but collectively, they massively raise the compliance cost of starting a business and hiring workers, two things we want to support. So we need to set some sort of bar to ensure that we're only regulating things that have substantial, widespread negative impact.
Yesterday I used this as the jumping-off point for a massive lament on the subject of how liberals talk about regulation, but today I want to make a much more specific point . . .

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