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  1. #1
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    Jan 2019
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    Default Can Background Checks Include Applications at Other Employers

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Texas

    I'm doing some research for my wife. She's applied for a couple of government positions that are law enforcement related. Part of the normal application process is filling out something called a Personal History Statement (PHS), it's like a 50 page story of your life. They ask all the typical stuff along with not just what you may have got caught doing but what you actually have done. For example they ask about drug use, any crimes you committed even though you didn't get caught, or anything that you may be involved in that might embarrass the department, etc.

    She's applied and interviewed at two different places so far. The first one she decided not to take and withdrew her application. After her first interview at the second agency that officer obtained the PHS from the other agency and compared them. He found a couple discrepancies and disqualified her.

    So my question is should he been able to obtain that other PHS and if not does the first agency have any liability? The one thing that is probably going to be there "out" is on the signature page where it authorized the release of information from past employers it also says "or any other person who has information"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,340

    Default Re: Can Background Checks Include Applications at Other Employers

    Quote Quoting sailndom
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    So my question is should he been able to obtain that other PHS and if not does the first agency have any liability?
    Nothing illegal about prospective employers trading information. So, no, no liability.

    Quote Quoting sailndom
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    The one thing that is probably going to be there "out" is on the signature page where it authorized the release of information from past employers it also says "or any other person who has information"
    That's a blanket authorization for anything and everything from anywhere. Though, even without that authorization, there might only be restrictions on credit checks. Anything that's not protected by law is fair game. And I know of no laws that prohibit prospective employers from sharing information voluntarily provided by a prospective employee.

    There's an HR person here who can shed more light on that. Stay tuned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    2,745

    Default Re: Can Background Checks Include Applications at Other Employers

    Quote Quoting sailndom
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    So my question is should he been able to obtain that other PHS and if not does the first agency have any liability?
    The answer to this question will depend significantly on what the two agencies are and how they are related.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    1,179

    Default Re: Can Background Checks Include Applications at Other Employers

    agree it's going to depend on the relationship between the agencies and how the 2nd one knew there had been an application at the first (they might share an ATS for example). And then it might depend on that authorization form.

    Unfortunately the OP's spouse chose to write different answers on the two PHSs....it might also depend on what she disclosed vs left off. BG Checks for law enforcement/government positions are meant to weed out applicants with issues....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    1,279

    Default Re: Can Background Checks Include Applications at Other Employers

    One of the minimum requirements of a job in law enforcement is that applicants be of good moral character and that they possess the traits of integrity, honesty, dependability, thoroughness, accuracy, good judgment, initiative, and resourcefulness (to name a few) as determined by a thorough background investigation. To this end, applicants sign a document authorizing the release of records relative to such an investigation, which includes access to prior background investigations. in doing so, they release persons cooperating with the investigation from any liability for compliance.

    Reviewing prior background investigations is a measure of integrity, as some applicants will lie and change answers they think might disqualify them. It also allow assess to both positive and negative information about an applicant another police department may have discovered.

    To apply for a job where honesty is paramount and then complain because one was disqualified for dishonesty is amusing at best, but disingenuous in the end.

    There is no out or limitation on these forms nor can they be modified to say you can have this information but not that. To do so effectively limits the ability to perform a thorough background investigation.

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