Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Introduces Equal Employment for All Act

July 19, 2019
Press Release
Says credit scores should not be a factor in hiring decisions

WASHINGTON -- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced the Equal Employment for All Act to protect job seekers from unfair discrimination from employers based on credit ratings. The legislation would protect prospective employees from being forced to disclose their credit history as part of an employer’s application process. Specifically, the bill would prohibit employers from using credit checks and bankruptcy filings in the hiring process unless the position requires national security clearance. 

“Using a job applicant’s credit history to deny employment is not just unfair, it also makes no sense. Credit scores are not accurate predictors of job performance or ability, and the current policy disproportionately punishes women, minority populations and anyone already struggling financially.” said Congressman Cohen. “We should be doing everything we can to help people find jobs – not hinder them.” 

Extensive research has shown that a family’s poor credit is more often the result of medical bills or unemployment than a mark of someone’s character or ability to perform in the workplace. Following the 2008 financial crisis, millions of people confronted job loss, shrinking home prices, and depreciated savings. For too many people, the fallout from the crisis also damaged their credit. Today, credit reports are not always accurate, and poor credit disproportionately targets women, minorities, and those already struggling financially. Including credit checks as part of the hiring process bars qualified workers from entering the workforce.  

Credit ratings bear little or no correlation to job performance and the ability to succeed in the workplace. In 2010, Eric Rosenberg, Director of State Government Relations for TransUnion, one of the largest credit reporting companies, told Oregon legislators, “At this point we don’t have any research to show any statistical correlation between what’s in somebody’s credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud.” 

The Equal Employment for All Act would make sure that hiring decisions are made based on an individual’s skill and experience rather than credit reports. 

Congressman Cohen originally introduced the Equal Employment for All Act in 2009 and has re-introduced it in every Congress.