If you’re asking yourself this question, the short answer is NO, but more on that in a moment…
Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of just how scary the bankruptcy process can be for our clients because we, as attorneys, are so close to the process. But when a client asks the question, ‘Can I lose my job because I filed bankruptcy?’, it really hits home. Our clients are embarking on a process that, to them, is foreign, embarrassing and fraught with unknown perils. Losing their jobs would actually make their already dire financial situation even worse.
This question, and others equally scary, can cause a person to talk themselves out of filing bankruptcy even before consulting with a good bankruptcy attorney - thereby creating even more heartache and stress, and causing them to sink ever deeper into financial distress.
11 U.S.C. Section 525(b) is the section of federal law that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of whether or not a person has filed for bankruptcy protection. Section 525(b) deals with private employers and their responsibilities. It says, in part:
“No private employer may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who is or has been a debtor under this title…”
This means that you cannot be fired for filing, but there is one potential hazard in what the section fails to protect against. While it is completely illegal to fire someone for having filed for personal bankruptcy, refusing to hire someone is not explicitly prohibited.
FINANCIAL BACKGROUND AND CREDIT CHECKS
If an employer does a financial background check, that check will likely reveal whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy. Your best bet in this situation is to be honest with the prospective employer up front. Tell them you’ve filed for either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy and, if you feel comfortable with explaining it, tell them why. In most cases, employers are using background checks to gauge whether a candidate is honest and trustworthy, not whether they have had a financial rough spot in the past.
Bankruptcy Code section 525(a) is much more complex, but applies to public employers and their inability to fire or discriminate against a person filing or someone who has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The Bankruptcy Code is pretty clear that public and private employers cannot fire you for filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, so go ahead and get some financial relief without fear of how it affects your job.
Now, back to the fears and anxieties people have when filing for bankruptcy… My best advice is to contact a bankruptcy lawyer in your area and ask questions. Bankruptcy attorneys like myself are normally some of the most friendly lawyers you will ever deal with; and we are eager to provide solid financial analysis to determine if bankruptcy is right for you. The best bankruptcy lawyers will give you a free consultation, during which all your questions will be answered and your fears and anxieties should be put to rest. What do you have to lose?
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, please contact the Law Offices of David Enos for a free consultation with an Amarillo bankruptcy lawyer today (806)372-7307.
Information on this website is based on general principles of law. They may not apply to your situation. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice and no reliance should be placed on the legal principles set forth in this website. This is why you should personally consult with attorney David Enos about your case.
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