A Closer Look at the One ‘Job Killer’ Bill Signed by Jerry Brown

Of the five bills branded “job killers” by the California Chamber of Commerce that reached his desk, Gov Jerry Brown signed one.

The bill prevents employers – except financial institutions – from using a credit report to determine whether to hire or promote someone.

Exceptions to the prohibition include managerial slots, peace officers and positions involving access to money or confidential information. Backers of the bill, the California Federation of Labor the chief one, say employer use of credit reports in evaluating job applicants has increased from significantly from simply banks and financial service companies.

In 1998, 25 percent of employers researched the credit history of applicants, the federation says. By 2006, 43 percent did and now 60 percent use such reports in hiring decisions.

Supporters of the bill – AB 22 by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, an Artesia Democrat – contend a credit report can offer a skewed portrait of a job applicant, particularly in difficult economic times.

Persons in lower wage jobs looking to advance could also be unfairly stigmatized by their reports, backers say.

Opponents, of which there were more than 35 including realtors, grocers, apartment owners, cities and restaurateurs, countered that credit reports help confirm an applicant’s job history and speak to their responsibility and integrity.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and Washington have restrictions of varying degrees on the use of credit reports in hiring, dismissals or promotions.

GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed previous bills by Mendoza to do the same thing:

“California’s employers and businesses have inherent needs to obtain information about applicants for employment and existing law already provides protections for employees from improper use of credit reports,” Schwarzenegger wrote in a 2010 veto message.

An additional 25 bills labeled “job killers” by the chamber didn’t pass the Legislature.







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