Bad credit couldn't be held against you at work or when you're applying for a job in New Jersey under legislation that advanced Thursday.

The bill does not allow employers or prospective employers to use credit check results as a basis for hiring or firing. Sen. Sandra Cunningham says the measure is designed to protect those who have run up debt because of joblessness or medical care in a bad economy.

It was approved 4-1 by the Senate labor panel.

The business community opposes the bill. It says employers are required to tell applicants and workers the results of credit checks and give them a chance to explain.

The federal government is looking into the issue of employer credit checks with a ruling expected soon.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)