A Call To Abolish Employment Credit Checks

Back in the day when my credit was very, very bad and I didn’t have any real sense of urgency about doing something about it, per se, my mom would try to put the fear of god in me by saying that when I applied for jobs, prospective employers could looking up my credit and, seeing how irresponsible I was, decide not to hire me. This seemed (and seems!) both totally unfair and hardly believable.

According to a recent survey-based study from public policy org Demos (h/t Astra Taylor), employment credit checks are actually fairly common: 1 in 4 of unemployed people who were surveyed reported having their credit checked as part of a job application. Among the unemployed with ‘blemished’ credit histories, 1 in 7 has been informed they missed out on a job because of their credit.

Employment credit checks are legal under federal law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits employers to request credit reports on job applicants and existing employees.4 Under the statute, employers must first obtain written permission from the individual whose credit report they seek to review. Employers are also required to notify individuals before they take “adverse action” (in this case, failing to hire, promote or retain an employee) based in whole or in part on any information in the credit report. The employer is required to offer a copy of the credit report and a written summary of the consumer’s rights along with this notification. After providing job applicants with a short period of time (typically three to five business days) to identify and begin disputing any errors in their credit report, employers may then take action based on the report and must once again notify the job applicant.

I’ve never been informed that a prospective employer was going to run a credit check on me (MIKE DANG???), so I suppose that means it hasn’t happened.


Homeless Woman Arrested For Leaving Kids In Her Car During Job Interview

Well, this is very sad:

Shanesha Taylor, a woman from Scottsdale, Arizona, is homeless. So when she got asked to come in for a job interview last Thursday, she must have been excited by the prospect. But when you’re homeless, there isn’t always an easy way to take an hour off from watching your kids to be at an interview. That’s how Taylor, 35, wound up losing her children to Child Protective Service — and losing out on the potential job.


An Unemployed Parent’s Job Hunt

In Motherlode, Andrea Pate, a mother with two children talks about how difficult it has been finding a job—even a minimum wage one—and making ends meet. Pate lives in Milwaukee where the unemployment rate is significantly higher than the national average at 9.8 percent.


Secret to Job Security: Have a Bunch of Jobs

Kim Palmer, author of The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life has found the secret to financial security. Unfortunately, it sounds like a lot of work:


Sickness, Death, and Money

My mom passed away when I was a junior in college, and she got sick when I was in high school. There were a lot of trips to doctors, many close calls at the ER, and many out-of-pocket medical expenses.


Hi Everyone, Please Don’t Hate Me

I’m so happy to be here and writing to you guys. I’ve been typing thebillfold.com into my iPhone every morning when I wake up for forever. It comes up as soon as I type in “t.” I want to say that this is because I know Mike will have his first post up by 9AM sharp, a rarity, but really I am just weirdly obsessed with this website.

As Logan and Mike talked about on Friday, today is my first day as a part-time contributor, so you’ll be hearing from me a few times a day, every day (gulp!). Before that starts, I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and plead for your goodwill.


Down to Nothing, With Few Options. What Would You Do?

At Ask MetaFilter, a young woman with zero dollars is asking people to giver her advice on scrounging up $800 this month so she can pay her rent and eat. She says her roommate will not give her any flexibility on the rent, has signed up for every temp agency she could find, and can’t rely on family members to help her out. “I would prefer not to do sex work, and I don’t have the looks for it, but again, if that is my only option, that is my only option,” she writes, which, oof.


My Father Lost His Job

I just got word today that my father got laid off after 30-something years at his company.


The Point Has Been Made (The Point is, Life is Terrible for a Lot of People)

Today Gawker publishes the 40th edition of its unemployment stories. It’s also the final edition, “not because there are no more stories to tell— we still receive new ones every week— but because its point has been made.” The whole series can be found here, if you feel like you need some fodder for a depressive episode.


I Used to Be a Great Worker, Really Type A, And Then I Lost My Job And Now I Am What You’d Call Not That Into It

More ways unemployment messes everything up for everyone: Great workers become eh workers. “The deterioration of employment prospects during a deep, prolonged recession might induce some elite workers to lose their pro-work ethic. Since identities are sticky, they might keep their new identity even when the recession is long past.”


Life Post-Sun-Times

Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire photo staff, and began telling their reporters to take photographs using their iPhones.

One of the photojournalists who lost his job, Rob Hart, started a blog documenting his newly unemployed life. He’s using an iPhone to do it.