Bank Fires Employee for 1972 Shoplifting Conviction

Nick Fishman

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A Milwaukee woman recently had her employment terminated at a major bank after a background check turned up a shoplifting conviction from 1972.  Throw in the fact that the woman has not had a conviction since and worked for the bank for the last five years, and this story is bound to reflect poorly on her employer.

Like others will mostly likely conclude, my first reaction is that this isn’t right and it’s not fair.  I then thought about the negative publicity the bank will receive and the likelihood of litigation.

But before we throw this at the feet of the bank, think about what guided the bank and mandated the termination.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) mandates that participating banks cannot hire individuals that have committed crimes of theft or dishonesty, period.  No provisos. Failure to comply with these regulations would lead to sanctions and potential revocation of the bank’s charter. It is for this reason that I have intentionally not mentioned the bank’s name in this post.

The bank did the right thing according to the guidelines and they will be the ones to take it on the chin.  In this case, perhaps the federal guidelines need to be revisited.  And I’m not suggesting that convictions shouldn’t be considered.  They absolutely should.  But maybe the bank shouldn’t be obligated to terminate someone for 40 year old conviction when they haven’t committed a crime since and have been a productive member of society.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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  • Wells Fargo has officially responded to this:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120509-723287.html

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    There is supposed to be a shelf life. To many people are witch hunted in this society because of politicians selling out to corporations. One mistake in this society can ruin your chances of success. When the people realize that 80% of us are commoners being exploited by big goverment, then maybe they will set aside their fears and choose freedom from opression.