I was offered a conditional offer letter, which means that I need to clear all the areas of a background check in order to get the job.

However, I did not and after ordering a copy of my background check, I saw that I had cleared all areas except for one. This was a job I had 5 years ago and were discriminated against on mental health issues. In their response to my back ground check, they said that I have behavioural issues (becaause of my job from 5 years ago).

I tried to explain the situation to my prospective employer, who was giving me a conditional offer letter, that I was discriminated against back then. In response, my prospective employer's director of recruitment contacted me and asked me bunch of questions about what happened back then. In then end, they said they would look for position again for me and I wouldn't have to go through entire hiring process again.

However, after 2 months since then I only got one call that was just check in to see what I am doing then I was told to resend my resume and not to count on them and that I might never hear from them and so should move on.

I am just wondering what steps can I take to get this matter taken seriously so that I can get the position back?

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    So if I understand correctly, they gave you a conditional offer, then after the background check, they rescinded that offer but said you might be eligible for another position within the company, then after two months, they called you again but told you they aren’t sure if they can make you an offer? Did I get all that right? Oct 9, 2017 at 14:29
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    If, for example, you suffer from bipolar disorder, they can’t legally discriminate against the disease but if you showed up late to work every day because of it, this behavior is fair game. Oct 9, 2017 at 14:38
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    Possible duplicate of How do I properly answer a rejection email? Oct 9, 2017 at 15:49
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    It doesn't really matter why they rejected you, the bottom line is that you shouldn't bother trying to change their mind (because you won't). If you think they might've done something illegal, and you want to find out your legal options, a lawyer would be the best person to talk to about that (but, as implied above, behaviour problems can presumably legally affect hiring decisions regardless of what caused them - protection against discrimination can only go so far). Oct 9, 2017 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


I am just wondering what steps can I take to get this matter taken seriously so that I can get the position back ?

I'm sure this is not what you want to hear, but that job has gone and they have told you as much.

It's not very pleasant that this previous employer has been able to scupper your application in this instance but the fact is it has happened and chances are that nothing can change that now.

It doesn't sound like the bridge is burnt there so if other jobs are advertised working for them you can certainly re-apply but as they advised you I certainly wouldn't be counting on it.

All you can do now is move on and carry on the job search. If you find yourself in a similar situation where a potential employer is going to be doing a background check then it is probably worth mentioning the history with this old employer to them before they carry out the check. Essentially getting your side of the story in first. You don't need to go into too much detail with this, just let them know that you had some difficulties with this old employer and you're aware that they have been giving false negative reports about you on background checks.

  • When you apply for future positions, you could maybe say something like, "[Y]ou may receive some negative feedback about my behavior from a job I had five years ago. At that point in time, I was suffering from some major mental health issues. I have since received treatment and can guarantee that these issues are no longer affecting my performance." I think as long as you haven't had any issues with other companies since then, this should satisfy most employers. Oct 9, 2017 at 14:54
  • Affableambler, do you think in this instance I have legal case against the company who chose to decline me position on mental health grounds ? I think I do or why would director of recuritment would call me to keep checking in.I forgot to mention that I applied through a specific program which is meant for people who had rough time and mental health issues Oct 9, 2017 at 15:16
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    @AustinWilliamStyles I'm not a lawyer but it's very unlikely you'd have a case. The offer was conditional on you passing the background check, you didn't pass the check and the check didn't mention mental health issues so I think you just have to move on.
    – motosubatsu
    Oct 9, 2017 at 15:25
  • I agree with @motosubatsu. Unless they explicitely said, "We heard from one of your former employers that you have x disorder and therefore cannot hire you," I think it would be better for you to just move on. Oct 9, 2017 at 16:14

Agree with the selected Best Answer, that there's nothing you can do to salvage this job.

However, if there were mental health issues that they are characterizing as character or behavior problems. If there is discrimination or misbehavior in the process, it was by the former employer, not with the potential new one.

I don't have enough legal expertise and don't know enough about your past situation to give any advice beyond "Perhaps you should have a chat with an employment-specialized attorney, or seek some legal-aid advice if your means are modest." I don't even know what country we're talking about here, so my assumptions might not apply.

Some random factors - If a past company thrashes you, that opens up the possibility of litigation if the claim is made that they are unfairly doing so. Because of this, in a background check or reference check, many US companies will only verify dates of employment and position titles, unless you specifically signed a document at or after the end of employment where you give them permission to disclose more. If you signed such a document allowing them more latitude in what they disclose, then you may have given them free reign to disparage you, from your point of view.

Mental illness might be a disability under the ADA, depending on the conditions. Also, if it is a mental health issue and not behavioral, then there might be issues about them disclosing your personal health information without permission.

The list of potential issues is pretty endless, without more specifics to focus, so, again, a discussion with a professional might be in order, if you feel strongly that they did you wrong, of if you want to prevent them from doing so again (maybe just the threat of action if they ever do this again will resolve it going forward, for instance).

Also, be careful about who you list as a "reference," and how all-encompassing a "background check" form is, before you (possibly) sign away all confidentiality and privacy.

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