Q: Can an employer fire you for a background that you disclosed to the during recruiting and onboarding?
I was recruited by a company that offered me a great opportunity. At the time, I had a promising career with a major corporation so I was reluctant to take the opportunity because I had a criminal background from ten years prior. I explained to various members of the recruiting company that I had a criminal history. I gave them permission to run a third party background check to verify all that I had disclosed. I answered all their questions and concerns. After discussions at all levels of management they made a decision to proceed with my employment. On the day of onboarding we again discussed my background because I wanted assurances that it would not limit my growth potential. I was given the reassurances. Now 3 months later a new Sr. HR Partner reviewed my file for a promotional opportunity, found the history and by his recommendation the company has decided to fire me. Do I have legal options I can pursue?
A: The specifics of your situation should be discussed with an employment attorney in your area; however, the answer is likely no. In an at-will state such as South Carolina, your employer can deny you employment opportunities or terminate your employment for any reason or no reason, as long as it is not for an unlawful reason. A decision based upon your criminal background would not be an unlawful reason.
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