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Thursday, February 19, 2015

I need a job but...

"I must have good credit?”

The phrase appears in help wanted ads for well-paid jobs as accountants and insurance agents, but also for low-wage positions as dog walkers, retail sales associates, restaurant servers, and maintenance workers. If a job applicant’s debts are high, they’ve suffered a foreclosure or a bankruptcy, or they’ve simply struggled to pay bills on time, a prospective employer can legally hold these flaws in personal credit history against them. The process may turn down well-qualified job-seekers—a devastating prospect for a household already finding it difficult to make ends meet. The truth is, the very practice of employment credit checks reinforces inequality and can perpetuate poverty and racial discrimination.

Employment credit checks are common for a wide range of positions. Nearly half of employers surveyed by the Society for Human Resources Management in 2012 say they check credit when doing at least some of their hiring. My own research, a study of low- and middle-income Americans with credit card debt, finds that within the survey population, one in seven job applicants with blemished credit reports say that they have been turned down for a job because of their credit. 

Despite their pervasiveness, credit reports – a product developed to help lenders make loan decisions – have never been proven reliable for employment. Credit checks are marketed to employers as a means to gauge an applicant’s character, sense of responsibility, or likelihood to commit theft or fraud. Yet there is little peer-reviewed evidence to back up these claims. A spokesperson for TransUnion, one of the major credit reporting companies, even admitted: “we don’t have any research to show any statistical correlation between what’s in somebody’s credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud.”

My research on low- and middle-income households carrying credit card debt finds that poor credit is associated with factors that may reflect the weak economy or a debtor’s personal misfortune but have little to do with how well a job applicant would perform at work. I found that households with flawed credit history are more likely to have experienced household unemployment, lack of health coverage in their families, and medical debt. In other words, many people run up debts because they have been out of work or have high medical bills, not because they are necessarily irresponsible people who cannot be trusted on the job. High error rates in credit reports means that a job applicant may not even have incurred the debts found in their credit history. 

Employment credit checks can also propagate racial discrimination. Studies from the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Trade Commission, and others have consistently that found that African American and Latino households have worse credit, on average, than white households. Poor credit in communities of color may reflect the impact of predatory lending that continues to target these communities, as well as other forms of racial discrimination in lending, housing, and employment. This legacy of discrimination can be magnified and carried forward when flawed credit becomes a reason to deny someone a job. For example, Bank of America was found to have discriminated against African Americans when it used credit checks to screen applicants for positions as bank tellers. While such cases are notoriously difficult to prove, the Department of Labor was able to gather evidence showing that Bank of America’s credit checks excluded a disproportionate number of African American job applicants. Numerous civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, have publicly opposed the use of employment credit checks.

The core problem is this: employment credit checks translate one kind of disadvantage – whether it’s predatory lending, extended unemployment, a legacy of discrimination, or a health catastrophe that led to heavy medical debts – into a continued source of disadvantage in the job market, making it substantially more difficult for those whose credit has suffered to get back on their feet. The result is a vicious cycle: it’s hard to pay your bills if you can’t get a job, but unpaid bills may also prevent you from getting a job. 

Now these concerns have catalyzed a growing number of states and cities to take action to end the vicious cycle. So far ten states have passed laws to curb the use of employment credit checks. In Congress, the Equal Employment for All Act, introduced by Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN), would prohibit the use of credit history for employment purposes. While this legislation is pending, employers can act on their own to discontinue the use of credit history in hiring, giving a fair chance to job applicants whose credit may be scarred by disadvantages but who could become among their most valuable employees.

M & A Legal Management

(888) 449-5841

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentines Day and the Office Headache!

5 Reasons You Shouldn't Ban Workplace Dating Q&A

It's almost Valentine's Day – do you know if any of your employees are dating each other? Should you care? If you are like most employers, you probably are concerned about the potential conflicts that can occur when employees date and work together. But, policies that ban these relationships can be difficult to enforce and may result in legal claims.
Learn five good reasons you shouldn't ban workplace dating.

Q:       We recently became aware that two coworkers are dating. They work in different departments and do not supervise each other, but we are still concerned about potential conflicts that could spill over into the workplace, or worse, potential harassment complaints if the relationship sours. Should we ban workplace dating?

A:         A: Conflicts can and do occur when employees date each other. In the past, employers who worried about these tensions would impose rules prohibiting dating among coworkers, often referred to as anti-fraternization policies. Some employers even viewed anti-fraternization policies as a way to reduce the sexual harassment complaints that can arise when consensual romantic relationships become acrimonious.

However, these policies are controversial, difficult to enforce, and can generate potential legal claims. As a result, many employers take a more "hands-off" approach and allow employee dating, except when clear-cut conflicts or performance problems appear likely. Rules prohibiting fraternization may appear to prevent some of the more obvious difficulties that can result from close personal relationships between coworkers. Common problems include favoritism, personal squabbles impacting work time, and problems scheduling vacations and shift work for involved employees.

These restrictive rules also may help reduce the chances of employees improperly sharing confidential information about your business. Even so, you must weigh the possible benefits of these policies against the legal and practical difficulties of enforcing them.
Policies prohibiting coworker dating are particularly controversial since they attempt to regulate an employee's personal relationships. And, these policies also can subject you to sex discrimination claims, under the theory that the rule has a disparate impact on females, particularly if women are the ones more frequently terminated because of a dating relationship. So, for example, if you normally would terminate a subordinate dating a supervisor, and the subordinate is female, you may face a sex discrimination claim.

In addition, a poorly written anti-fraternization policy could even violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law allowing employees to unionize and to engage in "concerted activities" that involve the terms and conditions of their employment. For example, in Guardsmark, LLC v. NLRB, 475 F.3d 369 (D.C. Cir. 2007), the court decided that an employer's anti-fraternization policy that banned employees from fraternizing on or off duty, dating, or becoming overly friendly with clients or coworkers, violated the NLRA. Calling the rule overly broad, the court found that employees reasonably could believe it prohibited their discussions of terms and conditions of employment. 

The court did recognize, though, that the employer had a legitimate goal of prohibiting dating relationships and could have implemented a more narrowly written rule that did not interfere with protected activity.

Besides the legal pitfalls, you also should consider five practical problems associated with no-dating policies:

1. You will find it very difficult to enforce any rules that apply to off- duty conduct. It is hard enough to enforce employee behavioral rules that are directly related to work performance without trying to implement rules dealing with employees' dating habits.

2. Employees often resent the rules as an invasion of their privacy. No one likes to think that an employer can dictate whom to date.

3. These rules can exclude precious talent. Organizations in remote areas or communities dominated by a single employer often struggle to attract qualified workers. These employers cannot afford to limit the available labor pool with prohibitions that prohibit workplace dating.

4. You stand to lose a significant investment in recruiting, hiring, and training when an employee becomes involved with a coworker and is later forced to resign under an anti-fraternization rule.

5. As a final practical consideration, recent surveys show that dating in the workplace is a fact of (work) life. A 2014 survey conducted by Vault indicated that 56% of surveyed adults had engaged in a romantic relationship in the workplace. Of those, 8% had married their coworkers while another 14% indicated they were in "long-term, serious" relationships.

What, then, can you do to address the problems that no-dating policies are meant to prevent but still avoid the practical and legal pitfalls often associated with these relationships? Instead of prohibiting employee dating, focus on the specific conduct that disrupts your workplace, like favoritism, irregular attendance (extended lunches or shortened workdays), and inappropriate or harassing behavior. You probably already address most of these matters with your existing policies and work rules on issues like breaks, attendance, harassment, and workplace behavior.

In addition, to further minimize the potential for problems, consider adopting limited restrictions prohibiting supervisory relationships between related or dating employees and any actual conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts, which may result from these relationships.

As a final note, you should shift your focus from your employees' personal relationships to actual objectionable behavior that directly impacts your workplace. That way, you can address legitimate performance problems without acting like an unreasonable and intrusive "Big Brother."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Solicitation of Prostitution & The Superbowl!

Warren Sapp, the 42-year-old Hall of Fame defensive tackle, who was covering the Super Bowl for NFL Network, was arrested early Monday at a hotel in Phoenix for soliciting a prostitute — around 7 a.m., according to TMZ.

In addition to solicitation, Sapp also was arrested for assault. One of the prostitutes called the police and said her colleague got into a fight with Sapp over money, according to Buzzfeed. The Phoenix Police Department said that the fight spilled into the hallway of the hotel. According to the report, Sapp admitted to hiring the prostitutes, but denied the assault allegations.

I have four words for him to always remember in his defense. "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" and call your lawyer, I guess this guy has never heard of Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Who argues with a prostitute over money unless he's having money problems and possibly even LESS THAN PERFECT CREDIT, (Wink wink) but wait, do prostitutes accept credit cards? Actually yes they do...thank you Square! I think many would agree that if he handled his finances a little better, just maybe he'd have a better credit score and not need to allegedly hire a woman of the night....presumably. Am I close ladies? For those of you who may have gotten lost, no Miranda vs. Arizona has nothing to do with the right to argue with a prostitute! And to borrow a part of a phrase I recently found useful at a seminar "Let me ask you this..." was either of the prostitutes charged, or does the media not care that it takes two parties in order for one to be charged, unless the other is an undercover officer, which is not the case in this scenario.

Anyway, in case you're wondering, I've done a bit of research for you to help you understand the seriousness of the situation.

The City of Phoenix City Code criminalizes Solicitation of Prostitution, in § 23-52. Typically, this occurs when the defendant allegedly offers money or something of value in order for another person to engage in a sex act with them. Almost every individual city in Arizona has their own municipal code outlawing Solicitation of Prostitution, and they all typically involve the same elements, and usually carry similar punishments.
What is Solicitation of Prostitution? Well, per the City of Phoenix Code, Solicitation of Prostitution is a class one (1) misdemeanor offense. A first Solicitation of Prostitution violation results in a mandatory minimum of fifteen (15) days in jail, with a maximum of six (6) months in jail. In addition, a $2500.00 fine can be imposed along with an 84% surcharge, and up to three (3) years of probation (which can include classes and counseling).

If a person has one (1) allegeable historical prior Solicitation of Prostitution conviction, then the mandatory minimum is thirty (30) days under the City of Phoenix City Code. If a person has two (2) allegeable historical prior Solicitation convictions, then the mandatory minimum is sixty (60) days in jail. If a person has three or more (3) allegeable historical prior Solicitation convictions, then the mandatory minimum is six (6) months in jail.

Each individual city has a municipal code which requires its own amount of jail time, however, usually all classify Solicitation of Prostitution as a class one (1) misdemeanor, which means that the punishment range could be anywhere from probation with zero (0) days in jail, up to six (6) months in jail. In addition, the cities can impose a fine up to $2500.00, plus a surcharge. Some cities even go so far as to publish a defendant’s name and photo in the local newspaper upon conviction.

Moral of me writing this article is two fold, Guys and Gals, "You have the right to remain silent" etc. and More specifically, Guys, don't be a SAPP and work on your credit! SOOOOO......I'd like to invite you to a FREE overview on how to restore your Credit Score!

You're invited 
to a 


overview of how we can help you RESTORE your credit!
(Must say at the door that you're my guest!)

In a few hours, 
Tuesday February 3, 2015
7:00 pm

6655 W. Sahara Ave Ste B100 
(1st Floor Media Room) 
Las Vegas, Nevada 89146

Located at the S.W. corner of Rainbow and Sahara, 
the pink office complex next to Carmax

And if you can't make it, go to and stay informed!