In some parts of the United States, people with unresolved problems or errors on their credit reports can actually be denied employment due to these issues. In Illinois, applicants are protected by the Employee Credit Privacy Act (ECPA), which took effect in 2011.
The ECPA prohibits employers from making employment decisions (hiring, recruiting, discharging, or modifying compensation) based on a person’s credit history or credit report itself. Employers are also prohibited from obtaining the credit reports of employees or applicants or asking employees or applicants about their credit histories, and individuals are also legally protected against an employer’s retaliation or discrimination for filing or attempting to file a complaint under the ECPA.
All employing entities and their agents in the state of Illinois are subject to the ECPA with five primary exclusions:
- Local/state government agencies;
- Debt collectors;
- Banks, financial holding companies, credit unions, savings/loan associations, trust companies, and their affiliates and subsidiaries;
- Authorized insurance and surety businesses and businesses which work on their behalves;
- State investigative and law enforcement units, including state police and departments of corrections.
If you’ve been a victim of a violation of the Employee Credit Privacy Act, you may have the right to sue in state circuit court for damages.