Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oregon Passes Legislation Protecting Employees from Credit History Discrimination

Earlier this month Oregon joined Hawaii, Washington and New Jersey in passing legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of credit history (with exceptions, of course). Specifically, the legislation prohibits employers from using credit history as a factor in hiring, firing, demoting or suspending employees, unless they can prove that good credit history is important for the job.

Wisconsin currently does not provide for such protection, though that may soon change. However, there may still be issues related to credit history discrimination if disparate impact can be shown since demographic data from various studies show that minorities and women are more likely to have lower household incomes, live in poverty and therefore struggle with credit. Thus, employers are encouraged to take caution when using credit history to bar applicants from employment.

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