Significant falsification of a company’s document allows that company to withdraw an individual from the hiring process. There is much written and discussed about EEOC and Fair Credit Reporting Act rules and regulations surrounding the proper use of background investigations. What is sometimes lost is the fact that any employer has an absolute right to withdraw an individual from the hiring process if they falsify the company’s applications.
This was brought to light, again, in a recent U.S. District Court case in Pennsylvania McCorkle-v-Scheinker . The Court ruled in favor of an employer who withdrew a job offer after finding significant discrepancies between the criminal history on the background check and the criminal history provided by the individual on the application.
While reading these excerpts, here are some questions to ask of your process:
- Does your company have a clear background investigation policy that is communicated to applicants?
- Do you provide documentation of the applicant’s receipt of this policy?
- Does your background investigation policy include a search of BOTH residential and employment address? If not, consider this – if an individual is convicted of a criminal conviction against their employer and they don’t live in the employer’s jurisdiction you will probably not uncover the criminal conviction against the employer.
Some pertinent facts from the decision are as follows:
- Defendant has a comprehensive Employment Policy which requires all external candidates for employment to “fully complete and sign” an application in order to be considered for employment. The Employment Policy provides that: “True misrepresentations of facts [on the application], confirmed through the background check, may disqualify an applicant from future consideration of employment.” (page 2)
- Upon completing the Application, Plaintiff was directed to read and sign an Applicant Certification form, which provided as follows: I understand and agree that any false, misleading, or incomplete information given in my application, interview(s), or other preemployment questionnaires and procedure, regardless of when discovered by the Company, will be sufficient basis for my disqualification for employment or, if already employed by the Company, the termination of my employment with the Company. I agree that the Company shall not be liable in any respect if I am not hired or if my employment is terminated as a result of providing such false, misleading, or incomplete information. (page 3)
- Here, however, the undisputed evidence of record shows that Defendant did not revoke Plaintiff’s job offer because of his misdemeanor convictions. Rather, it revoked his offer because he intentionally misrepresented his criminal history on his employment application. (page 10)
- Plaintiff only disclosed two of his prior ten convictions – stalking and harassment – when, in fact, he had been convicted of or pleaded guilty to eight additional crimes during the relevant time period – public drunkenness (twice), disorderly conduct, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence of marijuana, violating vehicle lighting regulations, and underage drinking. (page 11)