CFPB, NLRB to Share Information; Will be Focusing on Employer-Driven Debt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board have signed an information-sharing agreement as a means of protecting consumers from employer-driven debt, which is often “pursued” by third-party collectors, among other priorities.

A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two federal agencies can be accessed by clicking here.

Employer-driven debt has been a focal point for the CFPB since last year. Back in June, it opened a Request for Information about debts that employees owe to their employers, often through requiring employees to pay for equipment, training, or other supplies. Being “saddled” with this debt can prevent employees from trying to find jobs with better wages or working conditions, according to the CFPB.

“Many workers discover that getting a job can mean piling up debt instead of making a living,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, in a statement. “Information sharing with the National Labor Relations Board will support our efforts to end debt traps that stop workers from leaving one job for another.”

The information-sharing also relates to employer surveillance and selling personal data. Employers may be tracking workers after hours and information gleaned from that surveillance may be sold to financial institutions, insurers, and other employers, which could be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act or other consumer financial protection laws, according to the CFPB.

The NLRB is an independent agency that enforce labor laws in relation to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices.

Perhaps in an attempt to shed light on the areas of the labor market it is focusing on, the press release announcing the formation of the agreement specifically mentioned protecting families that harm workers in the gig economy.

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