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  1. #1
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    Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    So my employer in NY did a background check on me that included a county search from my days in Ames.
    The results came back showing 4 misdemeanors- all minor traffic stuff like Speeding, Running a stop sign etc.
    Now apparently, Iowa considers these "simple misdemeanors"- correct? Which is why they would be reported. In other states, traffic offenses like these are not classified as misdemeanors, but as infractions, violations etc. Misdemeanor traffic offenses in other states tend to be DUIs, DWI etc.
    Anyway, as per company policy, they put me on leave until they investigate. I expect to be terminated, because that's just company policy in dealing with misdemeanors (including traffic misdemeanors).
    I've talked to HR people, and they agree it's stupid, but say a rule is a rule.

    So my question is-
    can a background check company (like ChoicePoint) really report simple traffic misdemeanors like mine in a criminal history check? The whole thing seems absurd.



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by gogagig View Post
    So my question is-
    can a background check company (like ChoicePoint) really report simple traffic misdemeanors like mine in a criminal history check? The whole thing seems absurd.
    What's absurd is that your company would terminate you for a misdemeanor. Or is there a nondisclosure involved? How long ago were these?



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    I get the idea you have already worked there for a while? How can they fire you after the fact, unless you are on some sort of "probation" at work? Does the company have a statue of limitations on your history?

    I would think if you have a good working history with the company you would have grounds to sue if you are wrongfully terminated.

    Good luck, document everything, and be the nice guy.


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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    In the application form, there was a question asking if I had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony? I had said no. I did not know that Iowa considered traffic infractions to be misdemeanors. I've lived in NY for several years, and had simply assumed that crime categories are (i) Felonies (ii) misdemeanors (iii) infractions and violations. Here in NY, misdemeanors are considered quite serious.
    And I had assumed that traffic related stuff falls into (iii), unless it's a serious criminal offense like DUI or reckless driving, in which case it goes to (ii).

    So technically, I lied on my application.



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    I didn't think Iowa classified simple traffic infractions as misdemeanors. The bigger ones like OWI and such I can see them being classified higher than simple infractions.

    Good luck.

    Makes me glad I was a good boy back in my college and high school days.



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by bufante View Post
    I get the idea you have already worked there for a while? How can they fire you after the fact, unless you are on some sort of "probation" at work? Does the company have a statue of limitations on your history?

    I would think if you have a good working history with the company you would have grounds to sue if you are wrongfully terminated.

    Good luck, document everything, and be the nice guy.
    I've actually lived in NY all my life except for 4 years of school. There is no statue of limitations. I cleared the initial background check with no problem because it was a national search- and this never came up. However, I was now up for promotion, and they did a county courthouse search for every county I have ever lived in. And this came up at Story County.



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Well, usually on applications you have to sign and it says something to the effect of "to my best knowledge, the information on this form is correct" ... which wouldn't be lying in your case.



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ianoconnor View Post
    Well, usually on applications you have to sign and it says something to the effect of "to my best knowledge, the information on this form is correct" ... which wouldn't be lying in your case.
    Based on his initial post, it doesn't look like the issue is whether he lied about it on the application or not, just the simple fact that the simple traffic infractions are apparently being classified by Iowa as misdemeanors.....which is ridiculous.



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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUAlum2002 View Post
    Based on his initial post, it doesn't look like the issue is whether he lied about it on the application or not, just the simple fact that the simple traffic infractions are apparently being classified by Iowa as misdemeanors.....which is ridiculous.
    I have been looking up the law, and according to 321.482
    "It is a simple misdemeanor for a person to do an act forbidden or to fail to perform an act required by this chapter unless the violation is by this chapter or other law of this state declared to be a serious or aggravated misdemeanor or a felony. Chapter 232 has no application in the prosecution of offenses committed in violation of this chapter which are simple misdemeanors."

    All traffic violations fall under chapter 321, and I guess are simple misdemeanors. But I am curious to know if a company like LexisNexis or ChoicePoint can report these as misdemeanors.



  10. #10
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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    I talked to my girlfriend who is an attorney:

    You should talk to the State of Iowa Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Also, is your job driving related?


    WE ARE IOWA STATE

  11. #11
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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by clonomaniac View Post
    I talked to my girlfriend who is an attorney:

    You should talk to the State of Iowa Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Also, is your job driving related?
    No, the job is not driving related. Their policy, to be specific, is that "anyone convicted of one or more misdemeanors will terminated unless the crime is unrelated to the job."

    So there, I am clear. But they can easily get me for dishonesty. The employment is "at-will" anyway, so they can easily claim that I was simply laid-off as part of general cut backs.



  12. #12
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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by gogagig View Post
    No, the job is not driving related. Their policy, to be specific, is that "anyone convicted of one or more misdemeanors will terminated unless the crime is unrelated to the job."
    Interesting, because I would interpret that clause to mean "anyone convicted of one or more misdemeanors while employed by the company."

    Heaven forbid that anyone would ever misinterpret vaguely phrased wordage.



  13. #13
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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Aclone View Post
    Interesting, because I would interpret that clause to mean "anyone convicted of one or more misdemeanors while employed by the company."

    Heaven forbid that anyone would ever misinterpret vaguely phrased wordage.

    No that's my wordage. I don't have the specific wordage in front of me. I am sure it's more specific and clear.



  14. #14
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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    To tell you the truth, it seems odd to me that they would choose to terminate someone they considered worthy of promotion, especially over something so trivial.



  15. #15
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    Re: Any lawyers? Advice Needed

    Good luck with this.....I hope your employer isn't so filled with soft headed people that make decisions by the book instead of by what is in front of their eyes.



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