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New bill protects Coloradans looking for work

Senator Morgan Carroll of Colorado recently won approval for a new law called the Employment Opportunity Act. Senator Carroll sponsored the bill, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Valentine's Day. The bill offers new protections to already struggling residents seeking employment in an unstable and often ruthless job market.

The Employment Opportunity Act prohibits employers from conducting abusive credit checks when considering new job candidates. Employers have been using credit reports for years, and sometimes it makes sense, but often it does not. The new law prohibits employers from using credit information unless it directly pertains to the position for which the candidate is being considered.

The new law is important news to Coloradans drowning in debt. According to Senator Carroll, tying credit scores directly to an employment opportunity creates a vicious circle. Credit scores often suffer as a result of job loss and the financial struggles that may follow. The one remedy -- a new source of income -- is kept from the applicant due to the loss of the previous job, which is often the reason the worker has a poor credit score to begin with.

The Employment Opportunity Act essentially creates a new class of protected citizens for employment purposes. This new class of individuals is made up of persons who are suffering from financial hard times.

In a time when economic hardship has become all-too-common, the new law may seem long overdue. But holding a person's lack of resources against them at a time when unemployment rates are high has now been made illegal under Colorado law.

Source: Fowler Tribune, "Legislation Will Protect Job Seekers from Discrimination Based on Credit History," Feb. 14, 2012

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