Ohio is now one of several states considering legislation to limit employer use of credit reports in making hiring and other workplace decisions. Ohio S.B. 30 introduced February 1, 2011 seeks to add employment decisions based on a person’s credit history to the list of unlawful discriminatory practices under the Ohio Civil Rights Law. Specifically, the bill looks to amend Ohio Revised Code 4112.02 to include the following as a prohibited discriminatory practice:

For an employer to use a person’s credit rating or score or consumer credit history as a factor in making decisions regarding that person’s employment, including hiring, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment.

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary-Civil Justice. The legislation follows recent concern about the potential adverse impact caused by the use of credit histories on African-Americans, Latinos, women and persons with disabilities, especially in cases where creditworthiness is not directly relevant to the job. This past December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Kaplan Higher Education claiming that its use of credit histories has a disparate impact on African-American job applicants.