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Employers Would Be Barred From Using Applicants’ Credit Reports or Firing Pregnant Women

| December 10, 2013

There are certain things you just don't ask a prospective employee.

There are certain things you just don’t ask a prospective employee.

A measure that would ensure women can’t be fired for being pregnant, and another aimed at prohibiting employers from using credit reports to judge job applicants, are again on the move in the Florida Senate.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee gave support to both proposals on Monday, even though a number of senators expressed concern about limiting an employer’s ability to use a credit history when judging a potential new hire for a non-financial or non-managerial role.

Both measures stalled during the 2013 session.

Several senators said they would vote Monday for the measure (SB 324) by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, that would limit the use of credit reports because the bill has to clear three more committee stops, However, they said the proposal could hamstring employers. Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said the proposal could be seen as “government overreach.”

“I think an intrusive arm from Tallahassee telling employers how to hire is not a step in the right direction,” Richter said.

Detert said her intent is to reduce a barrier for people who are seeking jobs, which would help them improve their credit scores.

“I don’t think the credit history tells the employers much about their core predictors of job performance,” she said.

However, Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, said that if was he hiring he would want as much information as possible, regardless of the position.

“If I’m an employer I want to know everything I can about a hire,” Ring said.

Ring and Richter both voted to advance the measure, expecting their concerns to be addressed before the measure potentially appears before the Judiciary, Governmental Oversight and Accountability and Rules committees.

As for the measure to protect pregnant women, Dan Rogers, an aide for Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, said the proposal (SB 220) would ban discrimination based on pregnancy in workplaces, public lodging and restaurants.

“Some courts have ruled that Florida’s Civil Rights Act does not protect pregnant women from an employer,” Rogers said.

A decision is pending at the Florida Supreme Court in a Miami-Dade County case that centers on whether Peguy Delva faced improper discrimination by her employer, The Continental Group, because she was pregnant.

Justices questioned attorneys during a Nov. 7 hearing about whether pregnancy should fall under the Florida Civil Rights Act, which, in part, bars discrimination based on gender.

Delva contends, in part, that the firm would not allow her to cover other workers’ shifts to earn extra money and that she was not scheduled for work after returning from maternity leave, according to court documents. A Miami-Dade County circuit court and the 3rd District Court of Appeal sided with the company, a property-management firm.

The legislative measure would also require employers to make the same accommodations for pregnant women that they would for temporarily-disabled workers.

The House companion (HB 105) has been filed by Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana.

Thompson and Berman proposed similar legislation during the 2013 session, each getting support from a pair of committees in their respective chambers before the measures stalled.

The Senate committee unanimously advanced the measure Monday without comment.

–News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “Employers Would Be Barred From Using Applicants’ Credit Reports or Firing Pregnant Women”

  1. Gia says:

    It’s always been a practice & that won’t change.

  2. Mario says:

    First, I can’t believe that anyone can fire a women because she is pregnant, but then again, this is Florida so perhaps … anything goes. Regardless, this practice must be stopped and if it takes a State law to do it, then so be it. I really thought this was protected under Federal law.

    Next, unless you’re applying for another credit card, a mortgage, or a loan, a credit report should not be used for anything else. It has absolutely no bearing on an individual’s ability to perform a job. How much can one rely on the credit reporting agencies accuracy with those credit reports anyway? For me, not much.

    Considering we are still experiencing the worst job market since the great depression and millions have lost their homes to foreclosure which equates to poor credit scores … give these people the benefit of the doubt and don’t make it harder for them to find jobs.

    Almost every job imaginable has a probationary period anyway, so what is the real purpose behind all this personal investigating that employers are using with prospective candidates? I feel it is absurdly unjust and unnecessary. I can interview a person face-to-face and determine if I want to hire them for a job. Can’t use a credit scores to determine if they will show up on time.

    These are probably the same people that make it so unbelievably hard to collect the measly weekly pittance this State pays for unemployment compensation.

    Firing pregnant women … really?! Disgusting.

    • Blondie says:

      My credit is bad because my income dropped 75% to 80% and there are no jobs in this town that pay worth a ___________ Look at all the people who are forced to take a PT job that only pays $8.00 an hour.

  3. Diana L says:

    And remember you can get fired because who you love. ENDA didn’t get passed. How can anyone think these things are just?

  4. jim reed says:

    I didn’t get hired for an awesome job because I have bad credit. Of course I have bad Because i don’t have a job! So wrong! I went through all the testing aced the interview but yes because i’m in debt i wasn’t hired. Does the fact that i’m in debt mean that i am more likely to steal? That’s just not right. Its discrimination!!

  5. Nancy N. says:

    Is it any wonder we have so many long-term unemployed? The longer you are unemployed, the worse your financial situation – and thus credit score – gets. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m poor because I can’t find work, I can’t find work because I’m poor. There’s no way out of the vicious cycle.

    All these people in Washington who want to cut long-term unemployment benefits as “incentive” for people to find work need to take down the barriers keeping them from finding work first – like employers looking at their credit scores.

  6. barbie says:

    This is a most heinous form of class warfare, this tying an individuals “credit score”–which is nothing more than an arbitrary system used by the financial industry–to their ability to find gainful employment. That they may be able to work to provide food and shelter for themselves and their families.

    It is disgusting and deplorable. It was *overreach* on the part of employers to begin with, Senator Ring. I can think of no other term to describe your “spin” to justify this sickness besides “mealy-mouthed”. It is not “overreach” to provide appropriate privacy to the personal financial records of your own constituents. It’s abusive to basic human decency in such a completely sick and twisted way. It is morally bankrupt as is any “legislator” who supports it as policy.

    • Blondie says:

      The United State just went though a recession highest rate of unemployment in history and they did not count the people who are self employed or independent contractors so that means they need to double or triple the percent I made $50,000 a year made $10,000 last year. Of course my credit went bad. Oh dont forget how much we are paying for gas.

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