Digging out of debt has become more difficult for the unemployed now that employers are running detailed credit checks to screen prospective hires, the New York Times reports. Employers say vetting credit records, which is legal, is a valuable tool for assessing a future employee’s judgment, even for positions that require no financial responsibility. Others say that the practice could be a way to mask discrimination. Job counsellors voice concern that the practice of shunning those with poor credit may trap the unemployed—who may be battling foreclosure, living off credit cards and confronting personal bankruptcy—in “a financial death spiral.” Matthew W. Finkin, a law professor at the University of Illinois, fears that the unemployed and debt-ridden could form a luckless class: “How do you get out from under it?” he asks. “You can’t re-establish your credit if you can’t get a job, and you can’t get a job if you’ve got bad credit.” Responding to complaints from constituents, lawmakers in a few states have recently proposed legislation that would restrict employers’ use of credit checks.