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Discussion Starter #1
I recently hired a new employee from an agency. They assured me that the performed a background check and there were no issues. In subsequent discussion, she disclosed to me that she had in fact been arrested and convicted of a crime about 8 years ago. As a result, I had another background check performed and discovered that she has had 2 other aliases that she has used in the past. However, in the past 8 years, she has kept the same name other than changing her middle initial. The other thing that is odd is that her credit report only includes one activity and she is 30 something. Her performance seems solid to date, but I am concerned about these other issues. Why would someone have multiple aliases unless they had something to hide? Suggestions for next steps would be appreciated.
 

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What line of work, and areas of responsibility do you have this employee in? How long has she now currently been on the job with you? ie: How recent is "recently"?

I think a lot depends mostly upon what areas of responsibility/accountability you have this person placed. Dealing with the public or not... Accountable for $$ or access to $$ directly/bank accounts etc. within your company. Also, what kind of arrest/crime? There's always so much more to consider with such, it is not always just so black & white.

In any case though - I would have a problem with whatever agency you used, and ever using them again as a result - PLUS I would have a follow-up talk with them about this too. If you can not RELY on their services, which presumably you (or the employee) paid good $$ for - THAT needs to be rectified between them & your company, and with them too.
 

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The agency should have caught that. I imagine your job application form asks for prior convictions and she should have reported it there. My company does federal and military contracting, and we background check everyone and a lot of us have DoD clearances as well. Typically, the background agency requires the applicant to state any aliases and prior convictions. If this wasn't made known up front, I would fire her on the spot, but my business is very security sensitive.
 

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What were the terms of the conviction? It's quite possible that it was expunged as a result of the terms surrounding her sentencing - as a result, many background checks (including govt ones) may not catch it.
 

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From previous experience as an HR manager for a Texas state agency, we put a lot of emphasis on the application for employment and the fact that the applicant signed it, attesting to its truthfullness. Among other things, the application asked whether the applicant had worked under any other names (for the purposes of employment verification and background checking) and also whether they had any prior felony convictions. And if so, the applicant was directed to explain the conviction on a separate attachment so it could be researched and assessed by the hiring manager (and checked against the results of a criminal background check).

I'd never be comfortable relying on an applicant furnished via a staffing agency; you really want to get the initial employment history and background stuff from the applicant directly. At any rate, falsification of any of the information on the application for employment provided grounds for refusal to hire, or termination of employment. I can't comment on the credit report, as I have no experience in that area.

As far as where to go from here...consider whether the conviction was in an area relevant to the person's current scope of responsibility. Also, how recent was it (8 years may have been long enough to put it aside) and what type of restitution was made or time served, etc. If you have a probationary period for new employees, make sure you are clear on your expectations for performance, especially related to any areas of concern from her background. Texas is an "at will" employment state, so a worker can be terminated at any time for any (non-discriminatory) reason (with the exception of certain contract employees).
 

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I am a Military Career Counsellor in the Canadian Forces. We require birth certificates, Social Insurance Number cards, passports, citizenship cards etc. If a person has legally changed their name, we ask why. Unless it was due to marriage, it usually indicates that someone is trying to escape their past (criminal convictions, student loans, bad credit etc.). We do a credit, name and criminal record check on all of the names. I also have a sign prominently displayed in my office that reads,

" NOTICE: It is a serious offence to knowingly provide false information on enrolment. If convicted, penalties under the NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT may include up to 2 years imprisonment and/or release from the Canadian Forces."

That usually gets their attention-especially when I read it aloud before administering the group non-prescription drug survey!:D
 

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Hey, currenntly in aust, we can't get enough people to fill required positions - we stil wont be giving her a "second chance" - I don't think telling lies would be acceptable anywhere. Now if it's an offence to lie in your job interview, then there is an ethical responsibility to notify appropriate policing agencies to pursue this matter.
 

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I am a Military Career Counsellor in the Canadian Forces. We require birth certificates, Social Insurance Number cards, passports, citizenship cards etc. If a person has legally changed their name, we ask why. Unless it was due to marriage, it usually indicates that someone is trying to escape their past (criminal convictions, student loans, bad credit etc.). We do a credit, name and criminal record check on all of the names. I also have a sign prominently displayed in my office that reads,

" NOTICE: It is a serious offence to knowingly provide false information on enrolment. If convicted, penalties under the NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT may include up to 2 years imprisonment and/or release from the Canadian Forces."

That usually gets their attention-especially when I read it aloud before administering the group non-prescription drug survey!:D
Yes, but your government runs your country better than ours does.
 

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What were the terms of the conviction? It's quite possible that it was expunged as a result of the terms surrounding her sentencing - as a result, many background checks (including govt ones) may not catch it.

Arrest records can expunged under certain circumstances, but convictions typically are not, and a government SSBI or better will uncover everything. The private firms we've used to do background checks are terrible. I've got one employee with a common name (that now has a TS clearance) who our background check company claimed had an armed robbery conviction during his hiring process. Since NCIC, I've seen people arrested on the spot for outstanding warrants while trying to gain access to certain facilities.
 

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Some people might have aliases because of things like bad divorces/relationships etc, i'm sure there are valid reasons for some.

Changing names is perfectly legal so long as you don't do it with intent to defraud, and you don't have to tell an employer, except in some government/security type stuff.

Some people just don't like their birth name, ask a celebrity ;)
 

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some people learn from past errors and become credits to their community
 

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some people learn from past errors and become credits to their community
Not by changing their names and hiding their past they don't. Maybe by owning up to it from square one and being a straight shooter from that point forward they do...
 

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when we hire we have a written notice that keeping the job involves a satisfactory background check. this example would not qualify.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I am always amazed by the wealth of information available through Lotus Talk on even the most obscure topics. Obviously, I can't provide too many details in a public forum; however, I did want to clarify that the agency we used performs background checks on all of their clients (prospective emplolyees) and that process includes running a credit check. If someone has bad intentions it's not difficult to intercept mail coming into an office that will often have checks, credit card information, etc., or to grab a fax with credit card information. That's why I am concerned about hiring anyone who has a questionable past.
Chris
 
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