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IF I FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY, WILL IT AFFECT MY ABILITY TO GET A JOB IN MISSOURI OR ILLINOIS?

Many of my St. Louis bankruptcy clients assume that by filing for bankruptcy, either their current employment will be harmed or that they will have a more difficult time getting a job in the future. To begin with, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because you have filed for bankruptcy. There are legal codes detailing what an employer can and cannot do in regards to an employee who has filed for either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 (see 11 U.S.C. ยง525).

Regarding a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the only way that your current employer is going to know that you filed anything is if you tell them. Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that they would ever find out. Your debts will get discharged, you will continue to work, and life will continue apace (but with much less stress, since you will have gotten rid of all your creditors).

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be placed in a repayment plan over the course of three to five years. The most common way in which the payments are made to the Trustee each month is by way of a wage order (through which your payroll department deducts from your paycheck the amount necessary to go to the court). Thus, your employer (at least your payroll department) will know about the bankruptcy. This may sound like an invasion of your privacy, but you would probably be surprised to learn just how many people you work with whom are currently in a Chapter 13 repayment plan in which part of their earnings go towards payment of debts, and you have been none the wiser.

However, if you have recently filled out an application for a job, you will notice that most have a question pertaining to whether or not you have filed for bankruptcy before. If you have filed in the past, you should answer honestly. There is no reason at all to lie. But the fact that you have filed a bankruptcy in the past cannot be the basis for why you were denied employment. The employer simply cannot use this fact as justification for not hiring you.

Occasionally, there are businesses and corporations that do in fact discriminate against someone because of a bankruptcy filing. But these entities are often sued and are required to compensate the individual for having violated his/her rights.

In the end, your decision on whether to file should not be made entirely on what your employer may think about it. The decision is tough enough without the added worry of an upset boss. If you have these kinds of concerns, or are worried about whether or not filing a bankruptcy would have a negative impact on your current or future employment opportunities, please contact the St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at Brinkman & Alter, LLC. Our staff is available to answer your questions, and every phone or office consultation is free of charge.