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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Employment and Background Checks

    My question involves criminal records for the state of: Tennessee
    Twenty years ago I was convicted of felony possession of cocaine and conspiracy to sell. All hoops jumped through, no actual prison time, everyone happy...Unfortunately, this has, and continues to affect my ability to get a decent job. I am a college graduate, with honors, and most employers ask if I have EVER been convicted of a felony. I'm not trying to get work in some super-secret job, or anything involving national security! Not a rocket scientist, just want a decent job. My question is: how far back does a company actually look? Could I reasonably answer NO after this long a time? Expungement in Tennessee is not an option, if you've looked at the statutes...Governor's Pardon? Not bloody likely.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Employment and Background Checks

    NO. The worst thing you can possibly do is lie. EVER means EVER. It does not mean, 20 years ago.

    If they ask whether you have had a felony within, say, ten years, then you can answer no to that. But EVER means exactly what it says. If they ever found out that you lied, and it is far, far easier for them to find out than you would imagine (I've found out things about my employees/co-workers totally accidently when I wasn't even looking for it) that is grounds for immediate termination if you've been hired, and grounds to immediately put you on the do-not-hire list if you have not. Then you not only have to explain the felony, you have to explain why you were fired for lying about it and the prospects of getting the next job become even worse.

    How long a company goes back to look depends entirely on the company. There is no single standard. But as I said, I've gotten information about my employees when I wasn't even looking for it. Any given industry is a small world. You say NO fraudulently today and don't get caught; two years from now your boss plays golf with your brother in law in a pick up foursome (yes, it happens, I've had stranger coincidences than that happen within the past month) and the next thing you know you're out the door with no job, no unemployment (because you falsified your application), an even harder task at finding new work, and no legal recourse whatsoever (since it was completely legal for your boss to fire you for lying on your app, and completely legal for your brother in law to tell the truth about your history).

    Many employers will forgive a single indiscretion, especially when it was so far back. Few if any will forgive being lied to.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Employment and Background Checks

    Agreed.

    I have hired felons that have cleaned up their act.

    I have never hired a person that lied to me about their background.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Employment and Background Checks

    All I can suggest is just keep trying - keep applying. Just don't lie as the other responders also noted.

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