Lose your job, and you may have trouble paying the bills. Have trouble paying your bills, and you may find it tough to get a new job.
That Catch-22 is what many people face thanks to the widespread use of credit background checks. These checks have become routine among employers, even as soaring unemployment and foreclosures have resulted in black marks on millions of people’s credit histories.
Approximately 50 percent of private employers check the credit histories of at least some of their job applicants, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Companies say they do so primarily to prevent or reduce crime, such as theft and embezzlement. The idea is that people who have debt problems ...