Legal Alert


Legal Alert

Employers Can Withdraw Jobs Offers

A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania has ruled in favor of an employer that withdrew their conditional job offer to an applicant once they found out the applicant wasn’t being forthcoming about previous criminal convictions. During the interview phase of the hiring process the applicant was asked if they were ever convicted of a crime within the past 10 years. The applicant responded “yes” and disclosed a conviction for “stalking and harassment” in an attempt to gain custody of his daughter. The applicant signed an Applicant Certification form that included this language:

I understand and agree that any false, misleading, or incomplete information given in my application, interview(s), or other pre-employment questionnaires and procedure, regardless of when discovered by the Company, will be sufficient basis for my disqualification for employment or, if already employed by the Company, the termination of my employment with the Company. I agree that the Company shall not be liable in any respect if I am not hired or if my employment is terminated as a result of providing such false, misleading, or incomplete information.

The employer then extended a conditional job offer to the applicant that was “Expressly conditioned upon satisfactory completion of a criminal background check, reference check, and proof of eligibility of employment.” The employer policy also included text pertaining to the EEOC’s guidance on criminal records (an assessment conducted with the applicant to discuss the nature of the crime, length of time that has passed since the conviction, and determining if the crime is specific to the positon being sought).

After reviewing the completed background check results it was determined that the applicant “had omitted significant portions of his criminal history from his application” and had been “far from forthcoming.” It was revealed that in addition to the conviction for stalking and harassment, the applicant also had additional convictions for misdemeanors and summary offenses. The employer disqualified the applicant “based upon the fact that his application was false, misleading, or incomplete.”

The applicant then filed a complaint against the employer claiming they violated the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) “by revoking his contingent offer due to his misdemeanor and summary convictions that he contends were unrelated to his suitability for employment, and by failing to notify him in writing that he was disqualified in whole or in part based on his criminal history.” However, the court ruled that the undisputed evidence of record shows that Defendant revoked Plaintiff’s conditional offer because he intentionally misrepresented his criminal history on his employment application, in violation of the employer’s employment policies. As such, the disqualification was not based on Plaintiff’s criminal history record information and, therefore, the employer “was under no obligation to comply with the CHRIA’s notification requirement.”

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