Recently, FOX6 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ran a story about a woman who was denied employment due to a criminal record having been returned on her background check. Donnie Ward was sent home on her first day of work because she allegedly lied on her job application, stating she had no criminal record. However, the company who conducted the background check reported otherwise, and claimed she had been convicted in 2006 for battery in Milwaukee County.
Ward knew she had never been convicted of a crime, let alone arrested. The more she thought about it, the more she realized the problem. Donnie has a twin brother named, “Don.” After she was sent home, Ward purchased her own criminal records from Milwaukee County and the Department of Justice, both which came back showing no records.
Moving forward, Ward and people in similar circumstances, would most likely benefit from conducting a personal background check on themselves prior to applying for a job to avoid or dispel any issues or confusion that may arise during the course of the interview and background check process. In fact, the next job she applied for, she let them know in advance about her twin brother’s conviction and she landed the job. While the previous employer did offer to reinstate her job, she declined, saying, “I would have been very nervous and uncomfortable working there. I would have been afraid of retribution. It just made me very uncomfortable to go back to that situation.”
Her comments drive home the importance of following the pre-adverse action procedure which allows an applicant to dispute the findings on a background check before a final decision is made to withhold an employment offer. The report by FOX6 News was unclear whether or not the employer provided the pre-adverse action letter, but Ward was sent home from her job, and according to her, not allowed to offer an explanation of the criminal record returned. It is absolutely imperative that employers follow the proper procedures set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act when adverse information is returned on a background check. Backgrounds Online’s staff can assist their clients on every aspect of the process and even provides support to applicants who may have to navigate through a formal dispute process.