September 20, 2017

Warren Urges EEOC Chair Nominee to Prevent Employers from Discriminating Based on Credit Histories

Following Equifax Hack, More Americans Exposed to Credit Report Errors, Potentially Jeopardizing their Employment Prospects

Watch the video here (YouTube)

Washington, DC - At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) questioned Ms. Janet Dhillon, nominated by President Trump to Chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), about her willingness to take action against employers who use credit histories to discriminate against people of color, who are often negatively impacted by their credit reports and penalized as a result.

The Senator noted that about half of employers use credit checks to screen prospective employees, despite the fact that more than a quarter of Americans already have errors on their credit reports. In addition, neither job performance nor worker productivity are correlated with applicants' credit histories, and these checks disproportionately affect people of color. In light of the recent Equifax breach, the credit histories of millions of Americans are now at risk, potentially impacting their ability to secure employment.

"Ms. Dhillon, if you are confirmed to the EEOC you'll have plenty of ability to bring claims against employers whose use of this policy is having a disparate impact on groups protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including workers of color," said Senator Warren. "So, I just want to know if you'll commit to doing that?"

Ms. Dhillon responded that if confirmed, she would review the data, and said that she looked forward to working with Senator Warren on addressing the issue.

During the hearing, Senator Warren also spoke about a bill she introduced last week to "make life a little easier for people who are affected by this hack." The legislation would prohibit employers from requiring potential employees to disclose their credit history as part of the job application process.

The Equal Employment for All Act was endorsed yesterday by 22 organizations, including Demos, Allied Progress, Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Law and Social Policy, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Popular Democracy, Center for Survivor Agency and Justice, Consumer Action, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mobilization for Justice, NAACP, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its lowincome clients), National Employment Law Project, National Partnership for Women and Families, New Economy Project, PolicyLink, Poverty and Race Research Action Council, Public Citizen, UnidosUS, U.S. PIRG, and the Woodstock Institute.