Lying on Employment Application May Cost Workers Their Jobs

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Six Pittsburgh city workers may be out of the job after city officials discovered they did not reveal previous criminal convictions on their applications for employment.  Some of the omitted cases include felony convictions for  drug possession, aggravated assault and terroristic threats.  One worker has a criminal conviction for acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance – 110 counts to be exact.

These are pretty serious cases – I can understand why an applicant would want to keep this information under wraps.  But doing so is not recommended for the obvious reason that you run the risk of losing your job if your deception is uncovered.  And the only thing worse than being terminated for lying about a criminal conviction on your application for employment is discovering that if you had been truthful, the employer would still have been willing to give you a chance…

Pittsburgh prepares to fire 6 workers for unreported convictions

By Adam Brandolph, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – July 14, 2009

City officials Monday suspended and prepared to terminate six Pittsburgh Public Works employees in the wake of controversy over unreported criminal convictions.

City Operations Director Art Victor said the employees were suspended because they didn’t report their convictions on job applications, not due to the charges themselves.

“It’s clearly stated that any falsification could result in termination,” he said.

The city does not have a blanket policy on hiring employees with criminal records. A pending lawsuit against the city, filed by former Public Works employee Paul Grguras, alleges the city unfairly targeted him when he was fired for not revealing a felony conviction.

The six employees suspended yesterday were:

• Mallory A. Craig, 39, who was hired in July 2006, pleaded guilty in November 1991 to terroristic threats. Craig’s salary is $38,865.

• Mario J. Cutruzzula, 48, hired in February 2007, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining food stamps or other assistance. Cutruzzula’s salary is $38,495.

• Carl A. Huntley, 48, a laborer hired in August 2004, pleaded guilty in January 2003 to retail theft. In August of the same year, Huntley pleaded guilty to drug possession with intent to manufacture or deliver. His salary is $38,495.

• Joseph A. McCoullum, 26, hired in 2005, pleaded guilty in June 2003 to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, according to court records. His salary is $38,037.

• Richard M. Shiloh, 52, hired in March 2007, pleaded guilty in January 1996 to 110 counts of acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance. Shiloh’s salary is $40,285.

• Quint R. Weaver, 41, a tree pruner hired in September 2001, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in June 2000. His salary is $39,374.

“There is a mistake,” Shiloh said last night. “I know there is. I plan on fighting it.”

Weaver refused to comment and the other workers couldn’t be reached for comment.

“At the time these guys were hired, the city didn’t have any policy on doing background checks on anyone,” Victor said. “It was only since 2008 that every perspective new hire has had a background check done.”

The suspended employees have until the end of the day Friday to explain, in writing, why they should not be suspended. The city will look at their letters before making a final decision, Victor said.

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