Employment Opportunity Act Killed by GOP in Committee

March 19, 2012

(Denver) – A bill to help unemployed Coloradans gain access to qualified jobs was killed on a party-line vote today in the House Local Government Committee.

SB12-003, sponsored by Rep. Randy Fischer (D-Fort Collins), would have prohibited employers from looking at an applicant’s credit history as a factor in a hiring or promotion decision unless it is directly related to the position that the candidate is applying.

Thirteen percent of employers check all job candidates’ credit reports and 47 percent check select candidates’ reports, according to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

There has been no evidence to suggest a correlation between credit reports and job performance, and FICO, one of the main companies that computes credit scores, has asserted credit scores are not a valid indicator or predictor of the worth or skills of an employee. In addition in 2008, the FTC found that 31 percent of credit reports are incorrect.

Danny Katz from the Colorado Public Interest Research Group testified that because of the number of incorrect reports, checking credit reports as a business practice in hiring negatively impacts minorities, women, domestic abuse victims, people with disabilities, those who have had significant medical costs and victims of identity theft.

Rep. Fischer said he was disappointed the bill failed but hopes the conversation will continue.

“Credit reports are not an indicator of work ethic or job performance, and in fact, many times the reports are incorrect,” Rep. Fischer said. “That practice negatively impacts some of our most at-risk citizens. This bill was an attempt to reduce this unfair barrier and get more Coloradans back to work.”

Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), the Senate sponsor of the bill, added that she too was disappointed by the bill’s failure to pass.

“I’m disappointed the Republicans in the House chose to kill a bill that would have helped get Coloradans back to work,” Sen. Carroll said. “We should be working together to put people back to work, not wrongly denying people job opportunities due to circumstances outside of their control.”

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