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Can I be fired from my job for filing for bankruptcy?

For many Massachusetts residents, bankruptcy still has a stigma attached to it, even though it is becoming more and more popular as people look for ways to get rid of credit card debt. Hanging onto a job is important for those going through bankruptcy because they want to prevent future debt problems. But what happens if an employer catches wind of the fact that an employee filed for bankruptcy? Can a person be fired after filing for bankruptcy?

The good news is that those who work for the government or a private employer are offered protections about discrimination in such cases. Bankruptcy is governed by federal law and as such, the federal government has had laws in place since 1971 that protect consumers who are going through bankruptcy. Not only does this mean that an employee cannot be terminated, but he or she cannot be discriminated against in the hiring process. You also cannot face discrimination if you are receiving a government grant or attempting to obtain or renew a driver's license or professional certification.

In many cases, the protections extend to those affiliated with the debtor as well. So, if you are going through a bankruptcy, your friends, family members, business partners, employees and anyone else you associate with cannot face discrimination solely because of your bankruptcy filing.

Those who are considering bankruptcy should not have concerns about their employment status. Their position should be safe based on federal law. Those who have faced discrimination due to their bankruptcy may want to discuss the situation with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Bankruptcy and Discrimination," accessed Feb. 14, 2015

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