Would filing bankruptcy affect my applying for a job?

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Your employment will not be affected if you file bankruptcy. One of the factors that keep professionals and employees from seriously considering bankruptcy is the fear of how it may impact their employment.  It is very important to know that the Bankruptcy laws and the Employment laws prohibit employers from discriminating or terminating employees because they filed bankruptcy. 

Question: Should I disclose my past bankruptcy when applying for a job?

Answer: You do not necessarily have to disclose your past bankruptcy when applying for a job unless it is required by the prospective employer. However, companies often check credit when a job involves finance, accounting, cash or valuable merchandise and only when a job candidate will be working in a position of trust like cashier or custodian. If you’ve filed bankruptcy in the past and you have decided to disclose this information, be prepared to defend that decision to a potential employer. It’s illegal for an employer not to hire you because you filed bankruptcy. 

Question: Will I be qualified for a job even though I have bad credit?

Answer: Yes! The fact that a potential employer pulls credit and that yours is poor doesn’t mean you won’t be qualified for a job.  Some companies do a credit check when they’re doing background checks, but they do it as a supplement to their background check.  Companies might use it, but never as the primary reason for a decision to hire or not hire.

Question: How can I explain my bankruptcy to the interviewer if I am asked during my job interview?

Answer: If you have filed bankruptcy, be ready to provide your interviewer with a short, straightforward explanation and to redirect the conversation to your strengths and what you can do for the company.  You can also explain that the reasons for filing bankruptcy or poor credit are divorce, medical problems while uninsured, etc. I hope you’ll see what is relevant is my ability to this company. If you call my former employer, you’ll hear that I was an excellent….”

Question: What shall I do if the company I am applying for used my bankruptcy as a reason to disqualify me for the job? 

Answer: If you believe a company is using your bankruptcy case as the reason not to hire you, call the company and inquire if your credit was a problem and which area of your credit was the issue, so you’ll know what to disclose next time.  If the answer is bankruptcy, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and call the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Response Center. You can also contact the local consumer protection agency or your state attorney general.  At the very least, make one more attempt to change the interviewer’s mind. After all, if you made it through to the credit screen, there must be something about you that appealed to the interviewer.

Question: What shall I do if my employer terminates me because I filed bankruptcy?

Answer: The Bankruptcy Code states that no employer may terminate your employment or discriminate against you if you have filed for bankruptcy relief. That means even if a potential employer performs a background check and sees that you have a poor credit report, that individual or entity is not allowed to discriminate against you.  If you’re told only that the company will do a “background” check, ask what that check includes and how the information will be used. To see what’s on your credit report, get a free copy. 

Bankruptcy Basics

  1. Bankruptcy will actually improve your credit within one year because your unsecured debts are discharged.  Although the bankruptcy will be in your records for 10 years, not filing bankruptcy will make your credit even worse until most of your debts are paid in full.
  2. If you are being sued by your creditors, most money judgment can be eliminated in bankruptcy.
  3. Collection actions continue and you can be sued if you are in debt settlement.
  4. Chapter 7 will eliminate all unsecured debts.  If you are near retirement age, you must eliminate most of your debts.
  5. Bankruptcy will stop foreclosure actions.  If your trustee sale date is 10 days before, you can still file for bankruptcy.
  6. If your salary is being garnished, you have a court case about debts or you are being harassed by creditors, bankruptcy can stop garnishment, court cases, harassing creditors and eliminate the debt.
  7. Bankruptcy is cheaper, faster and safer than debt settlement which has no guaranteed success. 
  8. Preserve your health, eliminate stress and live a happy life by eliminating your debts which is the root of all problems.

Note:  This is not a legal advice.

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Chris Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers. He practices immigration law, bankruptcy and income tax preparation since June 1999.  His contact phone is 1-877-456-9266

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