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Background Checks

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At the invitation of Congress, a SHRM member recently explained why credit background checks can be an important hiring tool. 

Colleen Parker Denston, director of Human Resources at Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, MD, and legislative director for the Maryland State Council, testified for SHRM before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.  The Subcommittee was considered the “Equal Employment for All Act,” a bill to restrict employers’ use of credit checks.

Ms. Denston (center) testifying before the Maryland Legislature earlier this year.

“There is compelling public interest in ensuring that employers can assess the skills, abilities, work habits and integrity of potential hires,” Denston told the panel. “Credit histories, like other aspects of the background check process, are but one piece of information HR professionals use to evaluate whether an individual should be hired.”

She cited SHRM surveys showing employers’ use of credit checks has not increased in recent years, despite the downturn in the economy.  A video of the hearing is available HERE.

SHRM Position:  SHRM opposes the current legislation because it is too restrictive and would prohibit the use of credit checks, even for jobs with financial responsibilities and oversight.


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As Congress is currently in recess for the upcoming elections on November 2, the next issue of HR Issues Update will be published on Thursday, November 11, 2010.  Please don't forget to vote!
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