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Bankruptcy in Chicago & My Job: Do I need to worry?

bankruptcy in Chicago

Filing for bankruptcy in Chicago is a big step. On the upside, it can help you reset finances and start over. On the downside your creditworthiness will likely bottom out. Additionally, if you are employed, poor credit is not the only concern. You may worry that Chapter 13 bankruptcy will affect your job. Our experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyer, Kevin Benjamin, can discuss your concerns and help you determine the best way to move forward.

Below are some of the most common questions about bankruptcy in Chicago and your job.

1. Can Illinois bankruptcy affect the job I have now?

In most cases, filing bankruptcy should not affect your current job. Federal law protects people who file bankruptcy from discrimination from their employers. It also protects you from negative actions or retaliation due to a Chapter 13 filing, such as:

  • Reduction of salary
  • Removal/Change in job responsibilities
  • Demotion
  • Creation of a hostile work environment

Retaliation due to your bankruptcy filing could open the company to a lawsuit.

2. Will my employer find out about my Chicago bankruptcy filing?

Typically, Chicago area employers only get information about your bankruptcy status if it relates to your job duties. However, there are some exceptions:

Your duties include managing finances or handling money.

When you work as a financial advisor, treasurer, accountant or similar job, your employer likely conducts periodic credit checks or background checks as a condition of your employment. A Chicago bankruptcy could raise concerns about your ability to manage money and meet financial obligations. As a result, it could affect your employment status.

You have Chicago wage garnishment due to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Employers are often required to deduct a portion of an employee’s wages for creditors after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. While your employer should not discriminate against you based on your bankruptcy status, this could impact your take-home pay, potentially causing financial hardship.

In general, it is unlikely that bankruptcy will directly affect your current job, as long as it does not impact your ability to work or create financial concerns for your employer. That said, Chicago bankruptcy is a matter of public record and the filing documents are available for public review. However, your employer would not typically have access to this information unless it has a valid reason to conduct a credit check or background check on you.

3. What Chicago bankruptcy information is public record?

Some of the bankruptcy information that is available to the general public for review, includes:

  • Court orders and records related to your bankruptcy case.
  • Your bankruptcy filing documents, such as:
    • The bankruptcy petition
    • Income and expenses
    • Schedules of assets and liabilities
    • Various other related documents
  • Your court order (bankruptcy discharge) that officially releases you from your debts.
  • Documentation related to creditor claims and objections.
  • Information about assets or property seized and/or sold as part of your bankruptcy case.
  • Information related to your bankruptcy case that is filed with the court.

Please note that while bankruptcy information is public record, it is still subject to certain privacy protections under federal law. It cannot lawfully be used to discriminate against you in Illinois employment or housing. Nor can it be shared or sold for commercial purposes without your consent.

4. Can Chicago bankruptcy affect my job prospects?

The impact of a Chapter 13 filing on your job prospects can vary depending on the industry and position you are applying for. Some employers may view Chicago bankruptcy as a red flag in the hiring process.

As previously mentioned, if you are applying for a position in the areas of finance or accounting, a past bankruptcy may be seen as a negative indicator of your financial responsibility. On the other hand, if you are applying for a job in a different industry, such as marketing or technology, the effect of your bankruptcy on job prospects may be less significant.

If your career requires a professional license, such as doctor, lawyer, teacher, electrician, etc., it is unlikely that Chapter 13 bankruptcy will affect your standing. However, you may be required to file the information with the ruling board. Government agencies or private government contractors require security clearance for some positions. Generally speaking, bankruptcy will not impact your status if you already have security clearance.

However, private companies can choose not to hire you due to a past bankruptcy filing. A credit check is expected during the hiring process, and potential employers need your permission to pull one. This provides the opportunity to be upfront about the circumstances. You can explain the situation and highlight steps you have taken to improve your financial situation, demonstrating your responsibility and reliability as an employee.

Get help from a Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer

Are you concerned about the potential impact of bankruptcy on your current or future employment? A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can discuss your options and develop a plan for managing your debts. Kevin Benjamin is a skilled Illinois bankruptcy attorney, ready to help you achieve a brighter financial future. Contact us today or call (312) 853-3100 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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