On April 22, 2010, on the last day of the regular session for the 2009 legislative floor session, the Wisconsin Assembly passed AB-367 which prohibits employment discrimination based on credit history. This is an emerging protection in employment discrimination laws across the country with less than a handful of states enacting similar legislation. The Bill still has to pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law.
Sixty percent of employers now conduct credit checks on job applicants. Credit checks in hiring put job seekers in a Catch-22, in which they can’t pay their bills because they lost their jobs, but now they can’t get a job because they can’t pay their bills. Congressmen Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) recently introduced HR 3149, the Equal Employment for All Act, to restrict the use of credit checks in employment and put job seekers back to work. The bill will soon be heard in the House Financial Services Committee and needs the support of your elected officials. You can visit www.creditcatch22.org to learn more about the bill, and you can click on “Contact Your Legislators” to talk to your representatives in government about stopping this discriminatory practice.
If the class action settlement agreement in the White Class Action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is approved, it will forclose claims against Trans Union, Equifax and Experian for reporting debt as outstanding when it was in fact discharged in bankruptcy. However, claims against the furnishers of debt information are still viable claims. For example, if a bank told one of the credit reporting agencies that its tradeline entry on your credit reports should say “charge off”, “$1000 Balance”, ”Past Due” or some other entry to indicate that the debt is still outstanding rather than discharged in bankruptcy, and the bank did so in response to a dispute that you filed with the credit reporting agency telling the agency that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy, then the bank may be in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and your claim against the bank can proceed.
You need to submit disputes to the credit reporting agencies. I have some guidelines on my website for doing so, www.attorneyleech.com. Essentially, you need to notify the agencies that the information is inaccurate, explain why it is inaccurate and provide any documentation to support your position. While you can dispute items online, by phone or by mail, I highly encourage people to dispute in writing. The written document is more likely to have written support attached and then the nature of what you disputed is clear from the document. This process is not really “credit repair.” Credit repair usually has the connotation that you are trying to remove negative information that is accurate. If you have inaccuracies on your reports, you must dispute these directly with the credit reporting agencies. Do not rely only on disputes with anyone that reported or is still reporting the inaccurate information. If the inaccuracy continues after the dispute process, you may have claims against the credit reporting agencies or the furnishers of the inaccurate information.
Attorney Gordon Leech
When you have inaccurate information on your credit repoert, you can get them corrected through the dispute process. You dispute the inaccuracy by telling the consumer reporting agency about it. While you can use the internet, phone or mail, mailing your dispute is the method I prefer. I have an example dispute letter on my website www.attorneyleech.com, at the downloads page. You can learn more about your rights to accurate credit reports and the dispute process there too.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit reports once every year.
You can get a copy from any consumer reporting agency. The three major
credit bureaus, or consumer reporting agencies as the law calls them,
are Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. I typically recommend that
consumers get their free reports by mailing in the request form
established through the Federal Trade Commission’s directive to these
three agencies. You can download a copy of this form at my website
www.AttorneyLeech.com. Look at the Downloads page or the Credit
Reporting page. You can also find this form at
www.annualcreditreport.com. This is a website established through the
FTC directive too. It also has information on how to request your free
reports online and by telephone.