MANSFIELD, MA – Creative Services, Inc. (CSI) Vice President Judy Gootkind was one of a handful of witnesses to address a Congressional subcommittee in September about H.R. 3149, the Equal Employment for All Act.
Gootkind, a Board member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), was asked to testify before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit about the proposed legislation. NAPBS, which represents 700 companies engaged in employment and tenant background screening across the country, opposes the bill on the grounds it is “too restrictive.”
“My understanding is that H.R. 3149 would limit the use of consumer credit reports in employment to certain supervisory, managerial, professional, or executive positions at a financial institution, employment that requires national security or FDIC clearance, or when the consumer applies for or currently holds employment with a state or local government agency which otherwise requires use of a consumer report,” Gootkind explained.
By contrast, the proposed legislation would prohibit the requesting of credit reports for dozens of sensitive positions such as lawyers, property managers, asset management and financial planners, public safety officers, accounting staff, finance employees, Human Resource employees, cashiers and many others.
The limitations on when a credit report may be used for employment are one of the reasons NAPBS opposes H.R. 3149. “By allowing four exceptions, the bill is identifying that there is value to looking at a credit report in certain instances,” Gootkind says. “Our reasoning is that the four exceptions are too restrictive. If someone has access to, or is responsible for company assets, funds or personally identifiable information, it makes sense to look at their credit history too.”
In written testimony submitted to the Committee, Gootkind pointed out that a credit report for employment can be positive or negative. “Some would say that credit reports are reputation collateral and for many consumers, their credit history may be a good thing rather than the negative light in which they are being cast,” she explained. Furthermore, she said, it is important to clarify that a credit report for employment does not contain a credit score. “There is a great deal of confusion around this single point,” she said.
As H.R. 3149 makes its way through the U.S. House, Gootkind anticipates NAPBS and CSI will continue to be part of the public conversation. She expects her participation in the discussion will ultimately benefit CSI’s corporate and government clients.
“Everything at CSI is done with our end users in mind,” she describes. “When legislation is considered that may affect how credit reports are used for employment, it affects our clients in their hiring processes. For this reason, we will continue to talk to the representatives who will be voting on this legislation and attempt to educate them on the use of credit reports for employment purposes.”
To read a written transcript of Gootkind’s testimony before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, go to www.financialservices.house.gov. To view a video of her presentation, go to www.financialservices.house.gov and click on “View archived Webcast.”