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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3

    Default I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

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

    I had an in-person interview w/ Company X with a man named P. on 10/14/2019. During the meeting I felt very uncomfortable with the person who was interviewing me (he swore throughout and was pretty unprofessional overall) and to just get it over with, I told him that I was interested in the job and that I did want it. To clarify, during the interview I was NOT explicitly offered the job. I was told that they were going to be conducting the rest of the interviews with the other candidates this week, and P. asked if I would be "potentially interested" in the position. I then told him "yes" just to get the interview over with. He then said that they would get back to me near the end of the week or early next with a final decision after speaking with all of the candidates.

    Tuesday comes by and a woman named M. calls and leaves a voicemail where she stated that she wanted me to call her back anytime so that we could "discuss further steps in the hiring process." She did not explicitly state that she wanted to hire me, only that she would like to/was interested in offering me the position. YESTERDAY, 10/17/2019, I received an email from a background/consumer report company telling me that Company X had conducted a background check and consumer report "on my behalf" and that I would receive the results soon.

    TODAY, 10/18/2019, I received an email from the background/consumer report company telling me that they had completed my background check and they attached a link with my results. I called Company X and told them that I did not give consent to having a background/consumer check on me because I HAD NOT accepted the position. I told her that I received a call from M. and that I chose not to respond to her because I did not want the job. She said that they conducted the background check anyways because I had consented to having one done in my initial application. I told her that despite that happening, I had not received any further calls, emails, etc. from anyone attempting to reach me again and that I did not EXPLICITLY accept or decline the position. I also told them that I had not received a formal onboarding welcome/offer letter sent to me in any way, shape or form. I mean, if you leave a message on someone's voicemail and they don't reply for 4 days, who in their right mind assumes that the person accepted the position?

    This is what their background check "disclosure" said when I filled out the application a couple of months ago: PLEASE NOTE THAT THE REVIEW AND COMPLETION OF THE DOCUMENT RELATED TO THE BACKGROUND CHECK IS MANDATORY FOR ALL APPLICANTS, HOWEVER THE COMPANY WILL ONLY OBTAIN A BACKGROUND CHECK ON YOU UNTIL SUCH TIME AS YOU ARE OFFERED EMPLOYMENT WITH THE COMPANY.

    I also want to add that this background check was conducted PRIOR to me receiving the "official" onboarding email. I received that today (10/18/2019) and the background check was conducted on Thursday (10/17/2019). She called on Tuesday and I have yet to respond to her directly with the exception of the email I sent to her included below. When I called Company X today (10/18/2019) the woman on the phone (not M.) told me that they conducted the background check anyways because I had consented to having one done in my initial application and also stated that it didnít matter if I had accepted the position or not.

    My logic here is the following: all applicants agree to having a background check conducted as part of the application process, but what if the person does not accept the job offer or the company itself determine that the applicant is not right for the job? Do they conduct the BC regardless? Is that standard practice, or do companies do background checks ONLY AFTER the applicant has accepted the job offer? What is the industry standard here?

    Immediately after the call I emailed M. and sent her the following message:

    -----------

    M.,

    I am extremely upset that you went through with the background check/consumer report without allowing me to either accept or decline the offer prior to you conducting it. I am not afraid of anything in my background check, but I did not agree for it to be conducted.

    Not only did you guys take months to respond, but the entire process was unprofessional. P. swore in front of me during the interview and he made me feel uncomfortable.

    I will explore all legal options and take action as necessary.

    S.A.G

    ---------

    Can I proceed with legal action or am I in the wrong here? PLEASE HELP!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,426

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    Quote Quoting realbananas
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    This is what their background check "disclosure" said when I filled out the application a couple of months ago: PLEASE NOTE THAT THE REVIEW AND COMPLETION OF THE DOCUMENT RELATED TO THE BACKGROUND CHECK IS MANDATORY FOR ALL APPLICANTS, HOWEVER THE COMPANY WILL ONLY OBTAIN A BACKGROUND CHECK ON YOU UNTIL SUCH TIME AS YOU ARE OFFERED EMPLOYMENT WITH THE COMPANY.
    Read literally, the part you bolded says that they will conduct a background check UNTIL you are hired, meaning that they will do it before you are hired, not after. While I would have written that a bit more clearly, it's still fairly clear. And it is the case that most employers will do the background check prior to making the offer for the job, unless the employment will be in state that restricts the use of background checks prior to an offer of employment. You authorized them to get the background check, so there is no violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that regulates the use of consumer reports for employment. Based on what you've said here, I see no legal action for you to take. You can, of course, see an employment law attorney in your state to go over everything in detail, if you really want to explore whether there is anything you can do. Be aware, though, that unless you suffered some actual harm from this you wouldn't win much even if there was a violation of the FCRA here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,098

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    I then told him "yes" just to get the interview over with.

    Saying, "no", would have ended it even sooner and would have had the added benefit of meaning they didn't contact you again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    I wasn't offered the position when the BC was conducted. Does that chance anything at all? M. called asking me to call her back to follow up with the next steps, but after a couple of days she didn't try again or anything. I didn't receive the "official" offer letter until yesterday, when I called them to ask why they had run it. Shouldn't they have assumed that by me NOT returning the call for 4 days I wasn't interested in the position? Would you have gone through with the BC if someone you called did not respond after 4 days? At my current job they had an almost exact disclosure, but they sent the offer letter and waited for me to accept it first before completing the BC. I work in security at the moment (very involved BC check with fingerprints, gov. registration, etc.) and it's not like I am afraid of something popping up or anything, it's mainly that what if I had not been selected as a right candidate? Would they have still run it? Up until that point they didn't offer the "official" letter until after I called their corporate number to ask why. Thanks for the insight! This was really helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,426

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    If they had not run it yet and you told them clearly "I don't want the job" they'd not have done it. It costs money to run the background check and they are not going to do it on a candidate that has already told them he doesn't want the job. But as I said before, it is very common for employers to run them on their top candidates before making the job offer unless the law in their state prohibits doing that before a job offer is made. After all, they want to know if there is a problem with the candidate before extending the offer. It's more troublesome to extend the offer and have the person accept and then run the background check and have rescind the offer or fire the person after.

    I'm curious as to why this upsets you so much given that you say the report would be clean. What harm are you thinking is happening to you as a result of this? If there isn't any harm, you might want to let it go. Do you want this employer to be left with a bad impression of you making a big deal over something that really had no impact?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,098

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    realbananas, you do not have a lawsuit here.

    Accept it and move on with your life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,145

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    this isn't the only neighborhood he has posted this question in and has gotten the same answers elsewhere.

    He failed to communicate with them and didn't respond but somehow it's that company's fault?!?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    That's exactly why I don't understand why they ran it. BC's cost money to run (bet $30-60 depending on the company you use) and who in their right/sane mind would assume that a candidate who has NOT responded after 4 days is interested in the job? Be honest here, if you offered someone a job via phone, email, etc. and they did not respond after 4+ days, would you still consider them as a candidate or think that their silence means yes, especially if you made no further attempts to contact them?

    They did not offer me the job when they called. They only wanted me to reach out so that they could then officially offer it to me and to go over further details. I am upset because it is the principle of it. They had NOT offered me a job, I had not accepted, and the BC was run regardless. Their disclosure said that a BC would be conducted AFTER an offer was made. The BC was conducted FIRST and THEN they offered me the position via email, but only AFTER I called corporate to complain. Was it wrong of me to ghost them? Yes, obviously. But after P. made inappropriate sexual advances and swore in front of me, there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to reach out to either of them after the interview. They are not obligated to give me a job, and I am in no way obligated to reply to them either.

    TO hr for me: If you offered someone a job via phone, email, etc. and they did not respond after 4+ days, would you still consider them as a candidate or think that their silence means yes, especially if you made no further attempts to contact them? Also, I am a woman and when I said I felt uncomfortable it was because he made sexual advances and swore in front of me. Would YOU reach out to someone who made you feel unsafe/uncomfortable? I don't know your gender, but I sincerely hope this never happens to you. Being harassed while at a job interview is never okay. Hope that context helps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,426

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    Quote Quoting realbananas
    View Post
    I am upset because it is the principle of it. They had NOT offered me a job, I had not accepted, and the BC was run regardless. Their disclosure said that a BC would be conducted AFTER an offer was made.
    I disagree. The disclosure you quoted, read literally, said they could run the background check at any point UNTIL you were hired. It quite clearly indicated that the report would be run while they considered whether to hire you. And as I said before, that is indeed the most common practice running them — do them before the hire. You were made aware they may run it and you consented to the background check. So I'm not seeing any principle at stake here. They didn't misrepresent anything to you. In any event, there was no harm done here, so I see no purpose in badgering the company over it and potentially giving yourself a poor reputation in the bargain over something that really doesn't matter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,098

    Default Re: I Wasn't Offered a Position, but a Background Was Completed Regardless

    If it comes to that, what kind of principle is it where you tell them you're interested when you really aren't?

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