Bad Credit or Bad Qualification
Credit checks and comparing them to how a potential employee will serve the position to its fullest potential can be a grey area. When brought to write a paper on this situation, I found this to click with me on a professional and personal level. A close friend of mine was not given a promotion due to medical bills sent to collections that she could not pay while in college. I wish I would have new more about this subject when she was going through this, but now I am taking this experience and information into my career field and using it to help and ethically inform others. To figure out the right ethical solution to this issue, I took it upon myself to figure out a little more of the laws to this whole credit check act, and see how things should be handled.
When HR was conducting the interview with the applicant, did the applicant tell her of any bad debt or information that might show up on this credit check? She was applying for a position in the bank, so doing a credit check I believe is ethical. So, let’s say that the applicant did not let the interviewer know about any bad information on the credit check. So, by law, in the process of doing an employment credit check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) will apply almost every time a company wants to get a credit check or background check done through a third party (Bussing, 2012). “Before a company can get or use a report, it has to get written permission from the person it is about. The reporting agencies should have all necessary forms and keep them up to date (Bussing, 2012).” So, after all the documents are filled out and signatures are added and after the company receives the report, if they should proceed with not giving the job, promotion and or raise cause of the credit check results, there are a few things they must do by law. The company has to send the future employee or current employee a “pre-adverse action letter” that will advise them of what the plan of action is, what information the planned action is based upon and then proceed to give the applicant a chance to correct or dispute the information ((Bussing, 2012). To follow that step, the company will need to send and provide the person with a copy of the report, plus, send them a Summary of Your Rights the Fair Credit Report Act (Bussing, 2012). “Ending, the employer, by law has to give the employee time to respond and wait to make the decision – even if there may be other factors that would cause the employer to take the adverse action (Bussing, 2012).” The FTC has a minimum of five business days, but some suggest 10-15 business days. This gives them enough time to dispute the report and come to you with information in hand (Bussing, 2012). If the applicant sends the new or corrected information, the employer has to consider them with the given information (Bussing, 2012). When the employer has considered it again, if they came back with new information and the company continues with choosing another applicant the employer is to legally give the applicant notice of the final decision and give them the contact information for the reporting agency to dispute or correct the information in the credit report (Bussing, 2012). My course of action, along with abiding by federal law is to look up and find out more about my state laws regarding employment credit checks.
Ethically, I do not agree with the supervisor that told the manager to just “go with another candidate”. This does not abide by any of the laws put in place. We have to ethically be fair and reasonable. In some states there are laws for employment credit checks to only be necessary for job dealing with personal and important information/money. Washington happens to be one of them. If I were this manager in this situation, I would ask to speak with the supervisor in his office. I would ask him why he wants to go with another candidate, and see if there was a reason besides the bad credit report that he did not want to hire them. I would not want to ruin the professional trust with my supervisor and that is why I would want to make sure it was a private matter.
If the bad credit report was the reason, I would let him know that by federal law we have to notify her/him that this is the reason and give them the allotted days to reply back. I understand that by working in a bank we need to pass a credit check, but there are explanations for everything and we should hear her/him out and by law we are have to if they come back with new information. The ethical theory that I think fits with this scenario and my view upon the situation is utilitarianism. Why? Because utilitarianism is that an act is right (moral) if it is useful in “bringing about a desirable or good end.” In this case by running a credit check is ethically moral in the situation, because it could save the company from being stolen from and save the applicant/employee from temptation of stealing to get out of debt. I also believe that by giving the applicant and employee a chance to redeem themselves, you could also be hiring somebody that has all the qualifications you have been looking for. But in an important position sometimes passing a credit check is crucial. If it is a requirement and a must have then it is probably one for a reason.
Bussing, H., & Lauby, S. (2012, August 08). Are Credit Checks on Job Candidates Ethical – Ask HR Bartender. Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.hrbartender.com/2012/recruiting/are-credit-checks-on-job-candidates-ethical-ask-hr-bartender/
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