Dear Dave,

I'm in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I've worked for years in the automotive industry, but lately I've been thinking about a different line of work. The problem is I'm afraid I will be discriminated against when applying for jobs because of the bankruptcy filing. I think the government has given businesses the permission to look at my financial history. Do you have any suggestions?

Joe

Dear Joe,

The government doesn't give businesses permission to look at your history. They had that right anyway. And it wouldn't be discrimination, because it's a part of their analysis as to whether or not they want you working for them. That kind of thing is perfectly reasonable. It's not discrimination.

A lot of this, however, depends on the job and how seriously the employer is considering you. If you'd be doing something where you have to be bonded, then you'll have trouble because the bankruptcy can prevent you from being bonded. If you would be handling large sums of money or be given access to large sums of money, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy would reflect poorly on you and make you a higher risk.

Just be honest and disclose it, Joe. If they ask questions, explain things truthfully and the reasons behind why it happened. Also, don't carry around a chip on your shoulder about the bankruptcy. We all make mistakes, and the smart ones among us learn from them. I wouldn't necessarily have an issue with someone just because they had filed bankruptcy in the past, but it would create problems if they tried to hide it from me.

-Dave

Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover,EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.