As if America's jobless weren't screwed enough — more employers are running credit checks on potential employees for jobs that involve no financial decisions, so you'd better pay your bills on time even if you don't have a job!
Credit checks on applicants have long been a device used by financial firms, the government and employers looking to fill positions dealing with the handling of money, but with credit reports available cheap and easily, more and more employers are using them to cast judgment on the judgment of others. So even if you've gone months without a job, you'd better be willing to give handjobs in the parking lot at Denny's if you have to in order to not fall behind on your cell phone bill, because otherwise you might never get a damn job!
Once reserved for government jobs or payroll positions that could involve significant sums of money, credit checks are now fast, cheap and used for all manner of work. Employers, often winnowing a big pool of job applicants in days of nearly 10 percent unemployment, view the credit check as a valuable tool for assessing someone's judgment.
"How do you get out from under it?" asked Matthew W. Finkin, a law professor at the University of Illinois, who fears that the unemployed and debt-ridden could form a luckless class. "You can't re-establish your credit if you can't get a job, and you can't get a job if you've got bad credit."
"There's no relationship between being a personal trainer making $12 an hour" and having a good credit history, said Janet L. Newcomb, a career counselor in Huntington Beach, Calif. "People are being turned down for jobs on the basis of things that really have nothing to do with qualifications."