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Proposal would ban employers from looking at credit history

Elizabeth Warren.REUTERS File Photo

WASHINGTON -- Senator Elizabeth Warren announced today that she will introduce a measure to forbid employers from requiring credit histories on job applicants.

The Massachusetts Democrat’s measure has support from dozens of liberal consumer groups, who argue that credit history is a poor measure of character and discriminates against the economically disadvantaged. But it could face resistance from Republicans who oppose more restrictions on businesses and worry about taking away another tool in reviewing job applicants.

Warren has made her career writing about the causes and consequences of personal bankruptcy and debt and has galvanized liberal Democrats around her populist agenda.


“A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual’s character or abilities,” Warren said in a press release. “Families have not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and too many Americans are still searching for jobs. This is about basic fairness.”

Warren’s bill is cosponsored by six Democrats, five of whom are from New England: Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is also a cosponsor.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.