One of the most common questions asked about filing bankruptcy is, “Will my boss find out that I filed for bankruptcy?” It is a valid concern for many individuals. The fear of being fired after filing for bankruptcy prevents many people from seeking bankruptcy help.
Do not let a fear of your boss finding out about your bankruptcy stop you from talking to a Georgia bankruptcy attorney. Learn more about bankruptcy and what happens after you file a bankruptcy petition.
Does The Bankruptcy Court Notify My Employer I Filed Bankruptcy?
There is not an official notice sent to employers when you file a bankruptcy case. However, your employers could receive notice of the bankruptcy filing in a few situations:
- Your Wages Were Being Garnished – If your wages were being garnished before you filed for bankruptcy relief, your employer must be notified of the bankruptcy to stop garnishing your wages.
- You Filed a Chapter 13 – Many Chapter 13 plans require that the plan payments be withheld from your wages. If this is the case in your Chapter 13 case, your employer receives notice of the Chapter 13 filing and an order to withhold a portion of your wages to forward to the Chapter 13 trustee.
- You Owe Money to Your Employer – If you owe money to your employer, the debt is listed on your bankruptcy forms. Therefore, your employer would receive the same Notice of Bankruptcy Filing that all other creditors in your case receive from the court.
- Credit Reports and Background Checks – Some employers routinely check credit reports and update background checks because of the requirements and duties of a job. If this is true for your job, your employer will find the bankruptcy filing if it updates your background check or pulls a credit report after you file for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy records are available from the Clerk of Court in the district where the bankruptcy case was filed. Georgia has three bankruptcy districts:
- Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia
- Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia
Your employer would need to provide enough information to locate your bankruptcy filing, complete the request forms, and pay the fee for obtaining the records. General information such as the filing date, case number, and chapter of filing can be obtained by telephone if you provide the required information.
In most cases, employers never find out about your bankruptcy filing. Although bankruptcy filings are public record, your employer would need to care enough to search for the information and would need to know where to search for bankruptcy records.
Can I Be Fired For Filing Bankruptcy?
It is against the law to fire an employee solely for filing a bankruptcy case, including Chapter 7 cases and Chapter 13 cases. You cannot be fired for not paying a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy or will be discharged in a pending bankruptcy case. Your employer may not treat you differently based solely on the fact that you filed for bankruptcy.
However, your employer can legally fire you for other reasons. It would be up to you to prove that the termination of your employment was based solely on your bankruptcy filing.
Prospective employers can refuse to hire you based on your bankruptcy filing. This situation usually applies to jobs that require the employee to handle money or manage accounts. Most employers base hiring decisions on work experience and references instead of personal bankruptcy filings.
Contact A Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney For A Free Consultation
Talk to a Georgia bankruptcy attorney about the chances that your employer might find out about your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy based on your unique circumstances. The odds may be very low. Even if your employer could learn about your bankruptcy filing, you need to consider how filing bankruptcy can help you get rid of debts you cannot pay and get back on your feet financially.