Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Federal Lawsuit Against Company For Not Hiring Based on "Bad Credit History"

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday that it is suing test prep-giant, Kaplan, for systemically denying blacks jobs due to their bad credit history. The Title VII (Civil Rights Act of 1964) disparate impact case alleges that Kaplan has rejected applicants so often, for reasons that were not job-related, that their conduct amounted to an unlawful pattern or practice under federal law.

Employee says to manager, "We couldn't hire Jamar because, you know, of his bad credit" (wink & nod).

This is an important lawsuit in the so-called age of colorblindness. If the allegations are true, Kaplan would have used credit history as a proxy for race to deny jobs to qualified candidates. How is this possible? It's pure math.

Blacks possess a fraction of the nation's prosperity in wealth compared to whites, and the gap is actually growing despite the Obamas and the few other well-to-do black families that are in the public eye. A legacy and continued patterns of property denial/predatory access to credit, inferior education, limited job opportunities and advancement, lower earnings, among other barriers connected to past and present racism, bring in and trap Blacks into generational cycles of debt. TMA applauds the EEOC for taking on this issue, even with expected backlash from colorblind proponents.

And for a brilliant illustration of how these systemic forces severely limit individuals' choices and debt-escaping opportunities, check out this post, "If America were a monopoly game."

We couldn't have explained it better ourselves.

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