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You think you can't be blacklisted? Think again - Jason Lindquist
Idle ramblings of an idle mind
You think you can't be blacklisted? Think again
This Business Week article, linked from Deep Harm's diary on Daily Kos shows you how it works.

Your employer accuses you of some misdeed, like theft, and fires you. When you file for unemployment, they contest it, but you win. You're innocent, and they've got no proof otherwise. But it doesn't matter--they've already submitted a report to the background check company they work with. That entry gets you bonged from future jobs you apply for. Does it matter that your record with that company is wrong? No. In fact, they'll claim it's not even their fault--they "merely conveyed information provided by a former employer". Now, you probably have recourse in civil court. But if you're down to making $17K a year because you can't get a better job, you can't afford a lawyer to fight it, can you?

Even I might eventually have this kind of problem. See, I live in a townhouse. It's nice, but it's kind of small. There's some things that I can't buy because I have no place to put them, like a pool table. So if I want to play pool with some friends, we'll go to a pool hall. (Well, we did, until it closed.) Sometimes I forget to hit the ATM on the way, so I'll pay by credit card. Oops. Some credit companies think that makes me a bad person. And remember, all these companies make money by selling their arbitrary information to each other. One piece of "bad" information can spread like a virus.

Don't think you can just call someone up and square things. Remember the modern corporate mantras: "Sorry, it's company policy" and "We collect information from a variety of sources, we couldn't identify the source of this entry even if we wanted to."

The only solutions are stricter regulation of credit reporting and granting agencies, and new, strict regulations of background check companies in the same vein. Alternately, they could all DIAF.

Current Mood: irritated

2 comments or Leave a comment
dannyman From: dannyman Date: July 7th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's plenty of well-paid professional jobs that don't bother with background checks. If systemic conformity is important to you then systemic reform needs to be a cause.

jlindquist From: jlindquist Date: July 7th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not as many as there used to be. Remember, the rest of the country isn't your indignant tree-hugging hippie commune of the Bay Area. :-)

When I started looking for my current job, I was disturbed by the number of non-defense companies that had boilerplate language about drug, background, and credit checks. It wasn't huge, but it wasn't insignificant anymore, either. Though I was prepared to do it, I'm pleased I didn't have to argue any of those points, this time.
2 comments or Leave a comment