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Wrongful termination Question

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  • Wrongful termination Question

    I have worked at my current company for over 7 years, advanced up the ranks and am in the top 5% for performance each year. When I started with the org. I filled out employment application, correctly identifying that I had a felony in my past (I have more than 1 and since there was space for 1 incident, spoke with the recruiter & associate on what to do). They said to list the most recent, and I talked to the recruiter about the other. (the most recent incident happened over 14 years ago, the one prior to that 25 years ago.)

    A week ago, the U.S. Atty's office saw my name in the paper for a good thing but contacted the HR office at our company to make sure they knew about me. I am now paid admin leave while the company does their due deligence in getting another detailed background check done, both in the state I live now plus the state I grew up in.

    They permanently removed me from my most recent position stating it was not a suitable position and that based on these searches, it would determine if I still had a place there or not.

    My question is this -- I have not done anything to this organization but work 150% all the time; I filled out the information correctly on my application and have been nothing but a stellar employee.

    I realize I work in a state that is considered 'at will', but given their own policies & procedures, will they be able to still terminate me now though the HR dept was the one did not do their due diligence 7 years ago? What if others in my dept have a felony too -- and they have not treated them like this? Discrimination or not?

  • #2
    And your state would be....?
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Sorry... I live in Vermont.

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      • #4
        And what type of position did you hold and what types of felonies were these?

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        • #5
          One felony was for credit card fraud (1994) and the other was for bad checks (they put 3 together and it made a felony - 1982).

          My position was in HR at a hospital, over 6,500 employees.

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          • #6
            I might mention that Vt. has no restrictions on employers asking applicants & employees about arrests & convictions & the actions they can take due to such. (some states do) It would be up to the employer as to how they would want to handle a "criminal" hx.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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            • #7
              Why would the US Attorney's office care that your employer knew that you had engaged in credit card fraud 14 years ago? And, someone in that office remembers your fraud out of all the cases the office handles?

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              • #8
                A week ago, the U.S. Atty's office saw my name in the paper for a good thing but contacted the HR office at our company to make sure they knew about me.

                You know, something just isn't making any sense to me. How could someone in the U.S. Attorney's office remember your name from, respectively, 14 and 25 years ago? Particularly for credit card fraud and a few bad checks? Since then, they've dealt with THOUSANDS of prosecutions for much more serious crimes. And even if someone did remember you, why would they contact your employer and want to undermine your employment?

                smone, I can't help thinking that there's more to the story than you've shared.

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                • #9
                  "Hospital" is a key word here. Healthcare organizations must have a Compliance program, and a big part of that is demonstrating that exhaustive background checks are done. Any healthcare entity that accepts Medicare and Medicaid is under lots of scrutiny these days.

                  Past crimes that involve fraudulent activity are very likely to make someone unacceptable for hire. Sometimes these crimes are weighed more heavily than a crime of violence depending on the type of job. For example, we could never hire someone who has been found guilty of welfare fraud, but we might hire someone who committed aggravated assault 20 years ago.

                  I also agree that there must have been something "outstanding" about the OP's past felonies for a US attorney involved in his past case to remember him! Or....maybe this wasn't just a US attorney reading a newspaper article about him? Maybe it was a US attorney involved in a current investigation of that hospital.

                  If the hospital is being investigated by the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) or if they are under a Corporate Integrity Agreement (meaning the company was already found guilty of wrongdoing and is sort-of on probation) then they would be required to re-check all of their employees. Or the OIG or FBI would do the checks, or make the hospital pay an outsider to re-do them. A US attorney would be the one taking the lead on a case of fraud or false claims.

                  The OP may have been a stellar employee but the employer will be nailed for not doing a comprehensive check for fraud-related felonies, and they would have to terminate him. Yes, they were not diligent enough back when they hired him, but if they don't term him now, they risk their ability to stay open and to bill Medicare/Medicaid for years.

                  Again, I've seen it a lot in healthcare. Who knows, there's probably more than the OP is telling us.

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