This Note explores an increasingly perverse effect of an anti-discriminatory provision of the Bankruptcy Code on numerous Americans who have declared personal bankruptcies after the recent economic recession of 2007. Under § 525(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, a private employer is not prohibited from barring a former debtor from prospective employment based on a past insolvency. This provision has had an immense impact on the large number of former debtors seeking the fresh start that bankruptcy law is meant to provide. With the dramatic increase in the number of personal bankruptcies, this Note argues that such an impact is overly punitive on the current debtor within the context of bankruptcy law policy.
This Note also examines how § 525(b) has a disproportionate effect on older populations since the largest constituent of those who have filed for personal bankruptcy since 2007 have been older workers. This unintended effect directly undermines Congress’s recent efforts to protect older workers in the workplace, such as the through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This Note proposes a number of solutions to § 525(b)’s adverse effect on debtors through legislative amendment rather than judicial interpretation. The recent increase in the practical importance of bankruptcy protection must be paralleled with the meaningful and consistent application of its policies.