Can a Civil Judgment Affect Employment?
- A civil judgment is the outcome of a civil court case. In most instances, the result of a civil judgment is that the court will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum of money to compensate the plaintiff for the wrong perpetrated by the defendant. If the defendant fails to pay following the judgment, the plaintiff can take several actions including the seizure of personal property, garnishment of the plaintiff's wages or filing of a lien against real property.
- If a lawsuit against you goes to trial and results in a civil judgment, this judgment will be recorded on your credit report. The best way to minimize the impact of a civil judgment on your credit score is to pay the judgment promptly so that you have no outstanding debts. Additionally, if you are able to settle the lawsuit before a judgment is handed down by the court, you will also minimize any potential impact on your credit score.
- Employers often check credit scores during the hiring process; depending on the nature of your job, some employers may even monitor your credit score while you are working for them. Employers check credit scores because of the belief that someone with a poor credit score may make a risky choice as an employee. If you work in a position involving financing, confidentiality or money handling, it is very possible that an employer will periodically monitor your credit score for irregularities. Therefore a civil judgment's damaging your credit score could potentially damage your employment status.
Removing the Judgment
- Although satisfying a civil judgment through payment will result in a statement of satisfaction on your credit report, it will not remove the civil judgment from your credit report. To remove the judgment, you can dispute its validity with the credit bureaus; this will result in removal of the judgment unless they are willing to verify its validity, which they are unlikely to do as it is a costly undertaking. Another option is to hire a professional credit-repair firm to help you have the judgment removed from your credit report.