Retailer ordered to stop credit checks

Personal credit information not 'reasonably' needed to assess job candidates' abilities: Alberta privacy commissioner

Alberta's privacy commissioner has ordered Mark's Work Wearhouse stop conducting pre-employment credit checks on job candidates.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner investigated the retailer after a job applicant filed a complaint and it found the retailer contravened the province's Personal Information Protection Act by running pre-employment credit checks.

The complainant applied for a job with Mark's Work Wearhouse as a sales associate and agreed to a credit check during the interview. He didn't get the job after the credit check revealed a credit issue, which he said was an error that he didn't have the resources to resolve.

The retailer told the investigator it conducted a pre-employment credit check because the information provides an assessment of how job applicants will handle financial responsibilities and whether job applicants have a probable risk of in-store theft or fraud.

But the investigator found the personal credit information collected by retailer was not reasonably required to assess the complainant’s ability to perform the duties of a sales associate or to assess whether he might have a tendency towards committing in-store theft.

Mark's Work Wearhouse agreed to cease the collection of personal credit information of sales associate applicants as part of its hiring process.

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