D.C. bill would outlaw employer credit checks

The Washington, D.C., Council is now considering a bill that would make it illegal for employers to check the credit reports and scores of job applicants.

The bill has been applauded by consumer advocates who say that checking sensitive financial data goes too far, especially given recent economic conditions.

"Many people are finding themselves caught in a Catch-22," Ward 1 councilman Jim Graham, who introduced the bill in D.C., told the Washington Examiner. "They lose their job because of the economic downturn and then they go into debt. A job would help them get out of debt, but if they're blocked from getting one by bad credit, then they end up in a never-ending spiral."

While this may change the law in the nation's capital, applicants around the country still need to worry about their credit, and more specifically, whether an error on these reports could cost them a job opportunity. The reports commonly contain mistakes, which then need to be disputed with major lenders and credit bureaus.

This can often require a lot of time and effort, especially when consumers don't enlist the help of a credit repair company, as individuals who need to repair bad credit can typically receive more reliable results through these organizations.