Recently, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that businesses and other organizations can continue to consider credit scores in employment. As Johnathan Smith explains in an interview to Inside Counsel, this practice discriminates against job-seekers of color who are more likely than whites to face hardships, like student debt or medical loans, that lead to poor credit scores.
On the other hand, Johnathan Smith, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who formerly worked for Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, said he was disappointed with the appeals court’s decision.
“Far too many Americans, particularly far too many Americans of color are unjustly denied employment because of credit checks,” he explained in an interview.
“Credit checks if not used appropriately can have adverse impact on a protected class, including racial minorities,” he added. He confirmed that the problem is made worse because the U.S. economy is still recovering – and economic conditions impact millions of Americans.
He said there may be times that credit checks could relate to a specific job, but often employers are using credit checks in a “very broad manner not related to the job at issue.”
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