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Quinn Signs Bill Protecting Employees From Credit Discrimination

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 12, 2010 6:40PM

Earlier this week, Governor Quinn signed H.B. 4658, the Employee Credit Privacy Act, into law. The bill prevents employers from using a potential employee’s credit history as a factor in determining hiring, firing or compensation. Furthermore, the law forbids employers from obtaining an applicant or employee’s credit report, with a few exceptions such as banks, insurance companies, debt collectors, law enforcement and other state agency’s where use of credit history is required.

Governor Quinn hailed the bill sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), saying via press release, “This law will stop employers from denying a job or promotion based on information that is not an indicator of a person’s character or ability to do a job well.” Not everyone is happy with the bill however. The Chicago Tribune ran a scathing editorial blasting the bill, saying that the measure won’t create any jobs and it will “curb the discretion of an employer who might prefer to hire someone who has paid his bills over someone who hasn’t.”

On the whole, this bill is a step in the right direction for many Americans struggling with crippling debt. Depending on which research one consults, the average American owes somewhere between $5,000 and $16,000 to any number of banks, credit cards, hospitals, utilities; the list goes on. Even more conservative estimates admit that Americans carry more debt today than 20 years ago. With unemployment at a five month high, do struggling Americans barely making ends meet need another roadblock in surviving this economy?