Fields: Employers Should Check Credit Reports Before Hiring



Democratic State Senator Gary Siplin of Orlando has come up with another stupid idea that tops even his recent plan to promote school sponsored prayer by delegating The Student Council to pick the prayer and the prayer leader.

His latest idea is to prohibit Florida employers from using credit reports in hiring decisions unless it is a financial position.

I assume he exempts “financial positions” because they have to be extra trustworthy…as if financial officers are the only ones who could steal.

A ditch digger can rip off equipment at a construction site and a McDonald’s fry cook can fake time cards.

A credit report is insight into the personal habits and character of a prospective employee.

If you have a lifestyle of living beyond your means, I don’t want you working for me even if you have no access to my bank accounts. Financial woes are likely to be a distraction to your work responsibilities.

I have no doubt that many of the folks in financial trouble are there through no fault of their own.  At the top of the list are medical catastrophes.

But I also believe that many, including those making a six figure like me, lived a lifestyle that they could not afford and had no cushion if they lost their job…which I recently did.

If Siplin has his way, not only will the profligates get a free ride. Those of us who live within our means will not have that considered by prospective employers.

Starting with my kids and Buddy, I have a reputation as a cheapskate.

True. True. True. And I am proud of it.

I scrimped to pay off my mortgage in 11 years.  I have kept my cars for 10-plus years.

We have taken great family vacations in Maine, California and Maui.  All of it was budgeted in advance with money set aside for the vacation.

My clothing store is Costco.

The bottom line is that it does not matter what you make.  It only matters what you keep.

You can have savings on $75K or live below the financial watermark on $400K.

A prospective employer should have the right to know which group you fall into.

Prospective employees should only have the right to confront errors or explain their credit report.

One other bit of advice for those of you out in the job market.

The Human Resource Department is not impressed with that Facebook picture of you taking a bong hit.

Of course, Gary Siplin may want to stop H.R. from checking on that too.

16 Responses to “Fields: Employers Should Check Credit Reports Before Hiring”

  1. Las Olas Lawyer says:

    I can’t disagree with Sam on his point, that employers have a right to peruse credit reports for perspective hires. What is interesting is Sam’s obsession with money, which lies under the skin of every cheapskate.

  2. Woody72 says:

    Your way off the mark this time Sam. I’ve been in the manufacturing and construction business for many years. Not once would a credit check or other similar invasion into someone’s privacy have helped me weed out a bad employee. In fact, my best and most productive workers are generally smokers who on occasion even drink to much. The real world is a different place for those not making your 6 figures.

  3. Duke says:

    Do prospective employees have the right to see their prospective employer’s credit score? Nobody wants to work for someone who lives beyond their means or may have a bankruptcy or foreclosure in their background. People should have a right to know the financial stability of the company they’re going to spend a third or more of their life working for.

  4. dk says:

    you can be proud of being a cheapskate but it makes for a boring relationship

  5. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    People if you are refused employment, a rental apt, etc. you call me its called discrimanation. what not hiring someone that doesn’t have an 800beacon as opposed to say someone w/ a 500 score. Then you hire the higher beacon(credit score) than the lower one. Please.

  6. Mr. Courthouse says:

    Fields is right this time. However, Fields, who is a bottom-feeding DUI lawyer,isn’t an expert on everything.

  7. Lynda says:

    Ten years ago, I might have agreed with the gist of this article. Unfortunately, the rules have changed and now so many people have been unemployed and underemployed for so long, I have to disagree. There are a lot of really good, ethical people who have been desperately looking for work and with the ridiculously low unemployment compensation rates in Florida, anyone who doesn’t have a trust fund could be disqualified by a credit check. I was unemployed for eight months, carried little debt, save my house and car, and six months of salary money saved up. It was still stressful due to the fact that I was supporting my teenage son and my elderly mother. Some of the people making judegmental statements should try living on $275 a week for a few months.

  8. Ree Miley says:

    Lynda, Amen

  9. Floridan says:

    Why stop there? Let’s allow employers to require a potential employee to submit his or her medical records and family health history. Why shouldn’t the owner of the Kwiky-Mart know that breast cancer runs in the family of the woman who is applying for a job? Or that the man applying for a mechanic’s job at Bill’s Auto Repairs has had a lot of dental work (if he doesn’t take care of his teeth, he probably won’t take care of the tools)?

  10. The Pendulum Swings says:

    Sam…you deserve to be living under a bridge in Ft Lauderdale. I’ll even save a box for you!!

  11. Broward teacher says:

    Fields has no sympathy at all for the downtrodden. Because he makes a six figure salary, he brags he can save money and never go into debt. He perpetuates the myth that people are in debt because they are engaged in a lifestyle of buying beyond their means. Some are and most aren’t.
    Instead of Field’s fiction, millions of Floridians live hand-to-mouth on almost starvation wages. Many must go into debt just to afford to everyday necessities of existence. Car insurance, clothing and even food for the table push them beyond the limits. One unexpected bill, such as a car repair, pushes them into deeper into debt.
    This editorial by Fields is another example of the disconnect between the elite and the real world. His writing is about as fraudulent as Reagan’s story of the woman who drives a Cadillac to pick up her welfare check.

  12. Ed Foley says:

    Clearly Sam is admitting he’s one of the 1% and attempting to rub our noses in his incredible wealth! He’s probably a Kennedy in disguise. Most of us can’t even get into Costco let alone afford the high priced fashions therein!

  13. Chaz Stevens says:

    So if I lost my job due to the economic downturn in 2007. Along with a gazillion other folks. And from that, nuked my credit score from 749 to the mid 500’s…

    That shows my personal habits and character?


    PS.. Sam, you look like either a clip-on or bowtie kind guy… I didn’t realize they carried such within the aisles of Costco.

  14. I Know Sam says:

    I’ve met you, Sam. You are the worst advertisement for Costco clothes.

  15. Elroy John says:

    Normally, I find your posts to be pretty on the mark so I guess I can forgive a bad one every now and then. I have to ask though, if a person does have bad credit, even if they got there through carelessness, shouldn’t we be encouraging them to get a job and pay their bills instead of weeding them out of the workforce? Since when is there no chance for redemption, financial or otherwise, in America. As a defense attorney, you should be more sensitive to this. Also, on what empirical evidence or data to you base a causal relationship between bad credit and criminal behavior?

  16. SAM FIELDS says:

    Mr Walsh:
    There is legal and illegal discrimination. There is no law prohibiting discriminating on the basis of a bad financial history.
    Should I not be able to reject a prospective tenant because his rental record shows he is consistently late and had three eviction notices in the last 12 months?
    This afternoon I discussed this blog entry with a former Naval Intelligence who told me that a bad financial history will cost you a security clearance. Do you think that is wrong?
    Let me also add that until I was 40 years old (1985) I never made more than $25,000 in any year. I did not owe a dime except $15,000 in school loans for law school which I paid off as quickly as I could.
    I lived within my means.
    You should be proud of yourself. You saved for a rainy day and when it came you came out the better person for it.
    Like me, I suspect many of you grew up with parents giving you the Great Depression Stories. It was not until I was on my own that I saw the warnings and followed my Dad’s advice.
    I believe we were within a hairsbreadth of second one. Living a lifestyle where you think a car payment is normal was not making you prepared.