Prospective employers can conduct a credit check along with a background check to determine employment eligibility. The use of credit ratings in the process of selecting and hiring employees has generated considerable debates. Personally, I believe that the use of credit checks in employment is both illegal and unethical, simply because it is a severe violation of applicants’ privacy that has nothing to do with their professionalism and performance in the workplace.
I feel that conducting a background credit check is not a good business practice, since these checks cannot tell anything about applicants’ professionalism. I believe that a person, who faced bankruptcy at least once in a lifetime, has greater motivation to excel in the workplace than a person, who has never experienced any financial hardships. The second reason why credit checks are unethical is because there is no statistical correlation between poor credit histories and the risks of workplace theft (Martin, 2010). “At this point we don’t have any research to show any statistical correlation between what’s in somebody’s credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud” (Martin, 2010). Therefore, even if an employee has bankruptcy records, they do not mean that he (she) will necessarily commit a fraud. Finally, I believe that credit checks go beyond the realm of selection and recruitment problems and exemplify a serious privacy intrusion (Rosenberg, 1999). Thus, any time employers use applicants’ credit history to turn them down, it can be considered as the instance of discrimination based on credit ratings.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems faced by potential employees is the lack of a single, coherent definition of privacy (Hartman, 2008). For this reason, it may be difficult for job candidates to prove that they have faced discrimination in employment. This is why it is essential that stronger protection against discrimination based on credit checks be provided. In the age of financial difficulties, many employees may have bad credit history, and employers should be forbidden from any background checks that have no relation to the professionalism and performance of the job candidate.