It's Not Discrimination

Joe is worried about being discriminated against when applying for a job because of his Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Is he right?

QUESTION: Joe is in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and works in the automotive industry. He wants to get into a difference line of work, but he’s worried he will be discriminated against because of the bankruptcy filing. He thinks the government gave the companies the right to look at your history. Dave explains to him how it will really affect him from here on out.

ANSWER: The government doesn’t give businesses permission to look at your history, they had that right anyway. It wouldn’t be discrimination, it’s a part of their analysis of whether they want you to take on a job as to whether or not you filed bankruptcy. That’s reasonable; that’s not discrimination.

It also depends on the job as to how seriously the employer looks at it. If you are doing something where you have to be bonded, then you’ll have trouble doing it because the bankruptcy will prevent you from being bondable. If you are handling large sums of money for them or have access to large sums of money, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy would reflect poorly on that because you’re a higher risk. I wouldn’t not hire you because of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but I wouldn’t make you my chief financial officer. I wouldn’t put you in that temptation because it’s not fair to you.

I would just disclose it. I would just say that you don’t think this enters into it, but I did this and I want you to know why it happened; because of medical bills. Be very careful to not have a chip on your shoulder about it. Be open, honest and clean in your disclosure. Do that, and you shouldn’t have any issues. I would have an issue if someone tried to hide that from me.