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Old 12-05-2015, 10:31 AM
 
5 posts, read 3,287 times
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Okay, so.

I was fired from my last job, and I think it was for cause (I never heard the words "for cause" or "without cause", just that I wasn't devoting enough time to my work and wasn't available as needed for that particular job because of my schoolwork, etc). This happened almost three years ago. At the time, I asked my direct supervisor what would be said if future employers contacted them for a reference. She said, "We give out dates of employment and salaries, as per company policy." I'm a worry-wart, so that wasn't enough to satisfy me and I called a reference checker. They called up my old company and sure enough, even though they asked if I was eligible for rehire, my old supervisor said she would only disclose my dates of employment and salary.

I'm now interviewing with a state agency for a job. They do background checks, though I'm not sure what exact sources they use. If I can at ALL avoid it, I would like to not tell them that I was fired with cause; and while it seems my past employer is being a team player about it, I'm nervous that there may be other ways this agency can find out WHY I was let go. My question is, are there?

For instance, when I was fired, I applied for unemployment benefits and was denied (because I was fired for cause). My employer straight up gave them the reason I was fired because the person from the unemployment office read it back to me when I asked why I was denied. So I know they have -- or had -- that information. What I'm not sure of is if they're allowed to share that with the agency I'm interviewing with.

Otherwise, if the only possible way someone could find out the specifics of my firing is if my employer were willing to go into detail (and they're not), I would intensely prefer to keep it quiet.

Has anyone else ever undergone or conducted a state agency background check? Do you know what other possible departments they may cross-reference with? (I always heard such information sharing was against privacy laws unless you did something illegal to be terminated, but that may only be at the Federal level). If my employer is keeping quiet, can you think of any other way they'd be able to find out the reason I was let go?
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
4,648 posts, read 3,702,745 times
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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.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:03 AM
 
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Well, I've actually already been on two interviews. During the second interview, the company I was fired from came up, and I said something really vague like, "I had to make a choice between my school obligations and my job duties, and [type of industry] can be a madhouse especially during busy season". I didn't mention I'd been fired.

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.

Because I know for sure that my employer won't tell them anything. I already know that. They'll tell them when I worked there and how much I earned. That's all.

I just am not sure if there are alternate ways they can find out what happened at my old job. And I'd rather tell the truth and not look like a liar if there's no avoiding their finding out; but I'd rather lie if there's no humanly possible way they could find out.

Actually, that's not true. I'd really rather not lie at all. I hate lying.

It's just that I've worked my ass off in school, I got really good grades, I recently took a technical skills test for this agency job and scored higher than MOST of their applicants do (especially for my first attempt; most have to take it over again). Everything else is perfect and it seems as if I'm a lock for this job. And it's a foot in the door of my dream job, because they promote from within and I know eventually positions will come up in the department I covet. I've done everything else right, but this one stupid screw-up from a couple of years ago might totally undo everything. If I'd known they were going to do this whole huge background thing, I would have never given them the vague answer during my interview and instead would have told them right then and there I was fired and why. But most people advise you to be vague about firings, so I did, and now I feel like that's going to bite me right in the ass.

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.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:32 AM
 
393 posts, read 261,414 times
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It was three years ago. Say yes.
I have had a billion background checks and they mostly check Equifax and public records (arrests), but not all firings are bad. A lot of companies don't want anything to do with people who made it clear that they aren't planning on being there forever and a lot of people are aware of this.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,008 posts, read 16,668,282 times
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I would say "no". If anything comes back about that answer repeat the statement about school responsibilities vs work, that you and your employer couldn't come to a meeting of the minds and that you don't view that as unsatisfactory performance.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:52 AM
 
393 posts, read 261,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
I would say "no". If anything comes back about that answer repeat the statement about school responsibilities vs work, that you and your employer couldn't come to a meeting of the minds and that you don't view that as unsatisfactory performance.
lol, now you've changed my mind
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:05 PM
 
5 posts, read 3,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
I would say "no". If anything comes back about that answer repeat the statement about school responsibilities vs work, that you and your employer couldn't come to a meeting of the minds and that you don't view that as unsatisfactory performance.
Which I've considered, but I'm still in the dark about their ability to find out differently. If they're able to check with the unemployment office and they still have my info from when I was denied unemployment, that's me utterly screwed.

I guess I can always contact the unemployment office and ask what information they give out and to whom.
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:16 PM
 
393 posts, read 261,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenaciousZ View Post
Which I've considered, but I'm still in the dark about their ability to find out differently. If they're able to check with the unemployment office and they still have my info from when I was denied unemployment, that's me utterly screwed.

I guess I can always contact the unemployment office and ask what information they give out and to whom.
I am fairly certain no background check goes through the unemployment office. Background checks are mostly worried about who you owe, whether you pay them and whether you are able to conduct yourself appropriately (arrests).
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:26 PM
 
9,266 posts, read 11,832,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenaciousZ View Post
I'm now interviewing with a state agency for a job. They do background checks, though I'm not sure what exact sources they use. If I can at ALL avoid it, I would like to not tell them that I was fired with cause; and while it seems my past employer is being a team player about it, I'm nervous that there may be other ways this agency can find out WHY I was let go. My question is, are there?
Federal, state, county and municipal employment follows their own rules separate from what is available to private employers. I know that as a private employer, there are some of our positions that are regulated and the state performs background checks for us and they report things applicants were shocked when discovered. Unemployment records as well as new hire databases are checked. I know the federal government can check them. Many states exempt themselves from disclosure prohibitions. So, the answer is maybe they will know exactly what transpired.

If this was a pure private employer, your chances of making up a reason and not getting caught is improved, but as far as government employment is concerned, I would think they can find out a whole lot more than one thinks.
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:49 PM
 
1,521 posts, read 1,876,797 times
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OP, I know this question doesn't help your current problem, but was your relationship with your supervisor so poor that he would not allow you to resign rather than be terminated? Since you can't travel back in time, the point is moot, but it would have solved your issue of having to tell the potential employer that you were fired for poor performance.
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