The University of Miami touts its diverse student and faculty population proudly, but a new lawsuit filed against the school claims it practices racial discrimination in its hiring policies. Though, there's no complaint that UM is judging applicants directly on the color of their skin, rather the school checks credit histories in its hiring procedures, a policy that is more likely to effect Latinos and African-Americans than others.
The suit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Loudy Appolon. Appolon was offered a job as a senior medical collector at the University of Miami Hospital, but had the offer rescinded after the school ran a credit check. The notice came just a day before Appolon was scheduled to start, and after she had already quit her previous job.
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"By all accounts, Ms. Appolon was well-qualified for the position -- that's why the University of Miami offered her the job," said Samuel R. Miller, a senior attorney at Outten & Golden LLP in a release. "But instead of evaluating Ms. Appolon on an individual basis, as a person who -- like many Americans today -- may have struggled with and overcome some personal financial difficulties, and who showed promise to be an excellent employee, the Hospital stigmatized her based on her credit history. When companies act this way, they make it impossible for Americans to break the cycle of lending and bad credit, rebuild their lives, and contribute to their families and communities. And the employers hurt themselves by losing out on some of their best potential workers."
The suit claims that the school is violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by using credit checks in the hiring process. Attorneys in the case claim that there's no link between job success and credit history.