Thursday, July 03, 2008

Employers are going overboard...

I decided to apply for a job. With the exception of working for the state of Tennessee for less than two years and for the National Bank of Alaska for less than two years, I have been self-employed almost all of my adult life. I have done just about anything and everything that is legal to make money. With the economy appearing to be approaching a difficult period, I thought I had better start looking for a job now before so many others have to search.

I applied for a position with a HVAC contractor. The ad asked that a resume be mailed in or delivered to the office. When I arrived, I was also given an application to fill out. Since I lived nearby, I went home for lunch and filled it out. When I returned with my resume and my application, I was given a paper to sign that authorized the company to hire a investigator to verify my information. But that is not all. This is the paper that I was asked to sign.

In connection with my application for employment with ______Company, I understand the company may now or at any time while I am employed, conduct an investigative consumer report containing information on my character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living. I hereby release my employer and ______Investigative Research, Inc., their officers, employees, and agents, from any liability and responsibility arising from the preparation of said report or investigations relating thereto. I am aware I have a right to request from ________Investigative Research, Inc., the nature and scope of the investigative report.

This authorization for release of information includes, but is not limited to, matters of opinion relating to my character, ability, reputation, and past conduct. I authorize and request all persons, schools, businesses, corporations, credit bureaus, and law enforcement agencies to release such information without restriction of qualification. I understand checking the credit bureau will post an inquiry to my Trans Union Peer report. I authorize the release of a copy of my mortor vehicle records.

I voluntarily waive all recourse and release them from liability for complying with this authorization. I understand that a Photostat copy of this authorization will be considered effective and as valid as any original.

Required data is then requested for identification purposes.

I was shocked at such a broad scope of an employee investigation, the invasiveness and the subjectiveness of some of the character traits that could be used to determine whether I could be a good employee. What purpose do they need to know my mode of living?

I told the receptionist that I would never sign such an encompassing authorization. She replied that everyone who worked there had to sign it. She asked what the problem was. I wanted to tell her that I live under a bridge and that they might use that to fire me if I came in with a speck of dirt on me. Or I wanted to say that I don't live by breathing the same air as other people and I just suck the living breath out of others. It was all I could do to be calm. I just told her that I never, ever would want to work for someone who paid me by the hour, but who thought they could have control over my behaviour outside of work. I don't want to work for someone who has this lack of confidence in their ability to hire the right person based on ordinary research and references. I also wonder about working with other people there and their judgement if they have given the employer so much latitude in invading their private lives. What bothers me the most is I believe this mode of living is probably a characteristic that invites discrimination.

Don't get me wrong. I have hired many employees and I know there are many things an employer needs to know about an employee based on the type of position being filled. However, this one is too much. I wish everyone had the privilege of walking away from this type of job. Employees need to take a stand. I wish I was already working there and they came around asking that I sign this paper. I would see them in court.

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At 7/03/2008 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this needs to be sent to the large newspapers and large sites, many despearte to be empled are signing away their rights.

At 9/21/2008 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is going too far when they, the Employers want to know what you do at home when they can't see you. As long as it's not dangerous or illgal, no one needs to know a thing.

Now this way of thinking as extended to a gym run by a hospital. they want to know your state of health, so that if anything goes wrong, they aren't responsible. Like getting hurt.

It's none of their business and I heard someone signed a waiver to not disclose this information.

that employer you talked about, needs to have a waiver in place, it's probably the law that they aren't following, and it's a shame.

At 9/21/2008 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memphis Tn has gone downhill since about 1990 and i feel alot is due to Nazi type tactics by Employers..Credit chek, Background chek, Mvr chek, Drug chek - lose thousands due to marijuana which doesnt come close to alcohol as being a danger. The Peabody can hardly keep a decent pool of folks as on call these days and the changes since the mid 80's are horrific and dangerous

At 9/22/2008 6:20 AM, Blogger Jeanne Rhea said...

Thank you for commenting. It is good to know that others see some of the same problems. It amazes me to hear people say that an employer should be able to do anything and everything to protect himself while going overboard with their far reaching arm in the attempt to control their employees.

Some of these comments came from the poll here if you wish to read the article and post your opinion.

At 9/22/2008 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i cant seem to leave a post on parade..i signed up and a box pops up but is at bottom of my screen and i cant complete or even start my post/rant!! i guess i am missing something..advise if able

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At 9/22/2008 10:42 AM, Blogger Jeanne Rhea said...

I am not sure what the problem is. I logged in just now with my account and then the empty box for the comment came up for me to write in. Can you click the edge of the screen and pull it up so it is visible? That was my first post on the site and I am not really familiar with it. Sorry!


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