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Old 12-05-2015, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
4,671 posts, read 3,720,084 times
Reputation: 8716

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenaciousZ View Post
... But, they sent me home with a background check authorization form. In it, they straight out ask if you've ever been discharged or forced to resign due to misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. I literally can't waffle -- it's either say yes, be honest, and most likely have this entire process scrapped (even though my school record is great, even though my other jobs have been great, etc), or say no, lie my ass off, and take the chance that there's no way they can find out why I was let go. ... I probably just shouldn't lie, should I? Even if they couldn't find out differently, if I want to work in the public trust, I should just suck it up and be honest, probably.

Dammit.
You don't know that the entire process would be scrapped. I know that when you're applying for a job that requires a federal security clearance, you're better off being honest. If they find out you're not, they'll throw your application out because it's a sign that you can't be trusted, and you have secrets that an enemy of the state could use to blackmail you. In your case, it's a negative on your record, but you have an opportunity to explain yourself.

All I can say is what I would do in your situation ... I'd be honest, check discharged, and provide an explanation either in the field associated with the checkbox (if there is one), or type up an explanation, attach to the form, and write "see attached" next to the checkbox. You have the opportunity here to expand on what you've already told them -- something like this maybe: "I had a difficult time balancing my school obligations and my job duties, and as a consequence was let go due to my inability to keep up at work. That was three years ago, I've finished school, learned a lot about managing my time and balancing multiple obligations since then, and am eager and ready to prove what I can do for your company in this position."

But if you haven't finished your school obligations, that's going to be a tough one to work around. In that case, I'd finish up the school obligations first.

I had a DUI arrest in early 1993, and a past history of illegal substance use. My current job is in the financial industry, and my previous job was as a mental health professional. In both cases, I reported my DUI arrest and history of substance abuse. I was hired for both positions. I also applied for licensure as a clinical counselor, and disclosed this history to the state. I passed the licensure exams with no problem.If I'd lied about the questions, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself, and I would have been constantly looking over my shoulder waiting for them to find out. And if they had found out I was lying about them, it would have been bad news indeed.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:42 PM
 
6,091 posts, read 2,836,633 times
Reputation: 6011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
HR departments these days typically will tell that someone was terminated on such and such a date, but will not give the reasons to another company because of the legal exposure potentially involved. For the same reason, they have to thoroughly document the process if an employee is terminated with cause. This often involves some sort of escalation process to give the employee a chance to improve.

But if you're working in an at-will state, they don't have to provide a reason for termination at all. They'll need to make sure they cover themselves against legal action in this case, too, however; if they hire a younger person for the same job, for example, they might be sued for age discrimination. What I've seen some companies do when a high-level manager is involved is reshuffle positions around and reallocate responsibilities so the position is no longer needed. Thus, the reason for the termination is that the position was no longer needed ... not that the CEO hates the person's guts.

Most likely you'd be asked a question like this: "We see that you were terminated by company X; can you explain what that involved?" Which means you'd better be ready to go into an interview with an answer for the question, and why it isn't going to happen again if they decide to hire you. If you were fired three years ago and haven't been employed in that period, be prepared to explain that, too.
If the information provided was factually correct, what would be the legal exposure?
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:48 PM
 
8,964 posts, read 5,108,416 times
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if anybody ask why you was fired, just tell them you was sleeping with his wife.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
4,671 posts, read 3,720,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaxPhd View Post
If the information provided was factually correct, what would be the legal exposure?
"As far as many companies are concerned, this minimizes the possibility of getting sued, harassed, or suffering other fallout relating to former employees."

Source: Is a Former Employer's Bad Reference Illegal? - FindLaw

"When a potential employer calls for a reference, you may feel trapped between wanting to tell the truth and fearing a lawsuit if you say anything unflattering. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded. Plenty of defamation lawsuits have been filed over negative references. And, even if your former employee can't successfully prove that you defamed him or her, you will have to spend precious time and money fighting the allegation."

Source: Giving References for Former Employees | Nolo.com
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:12 AM
 
6,091 posts, read 2,836,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
"As far as many companies are concerned, this minimizes the possibility of getting sued, harassed, or suffering other fallout relating to former employees."

Source: Is a Former Employer's Bad Reference Illegal? - FindLaw

"When a potential employer calls for a reference, you may feel trapped between wanting to tell the truth and fearing a lawsuit if you say anything unflattering. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded. Plenty of defamation lawsuits have been filed over negative references. And, even if your former employee can't successfully prove that you defamed him or her, you will have to spend precious time and money fighting the allegation."

Source: Giving References for Former Employees | Nolo.com
Defamation lawsuits are based on libel/slander, to which truth is an absolute defense.

I have been threatened with lawsuits a number of times for this situation. None have ever got past the threat stage. I can't imagine any lawyer taking one of these cases on contingency, and once they realize that they will have to come up with lawyer fees out of their own pocket, they quickly end their foolishness.

I haven't delved deeply into the case law on this subject, but the few cases I have looked at were based upon the former employer providing more that the simple (truthful) reason that an employee was fired.
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
4,671 posts, read 3,720,084 times
Reputation: 8716
Quote:
Originally Posted by TaxPhd View Post
Defamation lawsuits are based on libel/slander, to which truth is an absolute defense.

I have been threatened with lawsuits a number of times for this situation. None have ever got past the threat stage. I can't imagine any lawyer taking one of these cases on contingency, and once they realize that they will have to come up with lawyer fees out of their own pocket, they quickly end their foolishness.

I haven't delved deeply into the case law on this subject, but the few cases I have looked at were based upon the former employer providing more that the simple (truthful) reason that an employee was fired.
A lot of companies don't want the legal expense and hassle of dealing with a potential suit so they set up their policies to avoid the possibility of one ever getiing to court. Reread the excerpts I posted.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:52 AM
 
6,091 posts, read 2,836,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
A lot of companies don't want the legal expense and hassle of dealing with a potential suit so they set up their policies to avoid the possibility of one ever getiing to court. Reread the excerpts I posted.
If you re-read the excerpts that you posted, you will see that both agree with me (that truth is an absolute defense to a defamation lawsuit).

When truthful information is all that has been conveyed, the legal expense and hassle of a threatened lawsuit by a disgruntled ex-employee is almost zero.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
4,671 posts, read 3,720,084 times
Reputation: 8716
Quote:
Originally Posted by TaxPhd View Post
If you re-read the excerpts that you posted, you will see that both agree with me (that truth is an absolute defense to a defamation lawsuit).

When truthful information is all that has been conveyed, the legal expense and hassle of a threatened lawsuit by a disgruntled ex-employee is almost zero.
This whole side trail of yours has nothing to do with what the OP was asking about. I'm movine on -- if you want to think of yourself as the "winner" in this exchange, go for it.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:11 PM
 
6,091 posts, read 2,836,633 times
Reputation: 6011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
This whole side trail of yours has nothing to do with what the OP was asking about. I'm movine on -- if you want to think of yourself as the "winner" in this exchange, go for it.
My initial post in this thread was a response to your claim that providing the reason for terminating an employee would create "legal exposure" for the employer. It's your side trail, not mine. If you didn't want it discussed, you shouldn't have posted it.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:58 PM
 
9,266 posts, read 11,892,799 times
Reputation: 14546
As an employer, I want to clarify one item.

An employment verification generally includes dates of hire, date of termination, position held, reason for no longer working and any other truthful statement that establishes the individuals employment (hire to termination) with that company. These are given regularly by employers to include why they fired a person. There is absolutely no fear today by employers over lawsuits regarding employment verification. Those days have long gone (thank you GOP) due to the recent rash of new and revised state laws that protects employers from lawsuits by former employees.

I do not even think lawyers will even consider some defamation suit based on why a person was fired it there is any truth to the statement. It use to be they threaten a lawsuit to force a settlement but with these tougher laws, attorneys aren't so willing to risk their license for a possible settlement. This is just the modern reality.

Now, employment references are not the same as an employer verification. References are asking for an OPINION (good or bad) and that's what many companies have stopped for fear of lawsuits. They decided that since opinions are not covered, just don;t give any regardless if good or bad. This often results in a company electing to extend a prohibition on why a person is no longer employed to the verification process so that they are consistent on giving out nothing that is subject to misinterpretation. You will read in the main work and employment forum many people whining and crying like babies because their former employer refuses to give a reference. Because they can;t get a good reference and the company will not say why a person is no longer working, some prospective employers rightfully think the applicant did something wrong at their last job.

Unfortunately, people wanted nothing bad said and that just so happen to end up with nothing good being said as well. However, they shouldn't be complaining as they got exactly what they wanted.
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