These bills protect workers from an unfair and harmful practice that threatens their ability to re-enter or remain in the workforce as they struggle back to normal in the wake of the COVID crisis–namely using credit reports to deny workers jobs or promotions, or even terminate them.
The use of credit reports in employment decisions is harmful and unfair to workers for a number of reasons. First is the absurdity of the practice. Considering credit histories in hiring creates a vicious Catch-22 for job applicants. A worker who loses their job is likely to fall behind on paying their bills due to lack of income. They can’t rebuild their credit history if they can’t get a job to pay those bills, and they can’t get a job if they’ve got bad credit. It’s a form of financial death spiral. Workers are especially vulnerable to this death spiral in the wake of a year where unemployment hit 16.4% in Massachusetts and where it is still far higher than it was before the pandemic.