6

Asking a question of people who are more versed than me in FBI background checks.

I've just received a job offer in finance—perfect job for me!—and am now being asked to complete a pro forma FBI background check. I'm wondering if the following incident will show up and if so, whether it would be problematic:

In 2019, I was enrolled in a STEM program at an Ivy League school (not mentioning this for clout but to indicate level of pressure), enrolled in several Ph.D.-level courses, doing research with a professor, and teaching an undergraduate course. The stress was incredible; there were many other non-professional stressors as well. In the end, the constant, overwhelming stress (in addition to diagnosed M.D.D.) led me to some bizarre, nonviolent behavior with my roommate. My roommate became concerned and called the police, who he believed would take me to the hospital for the night. At some point, I tried to push a police officer, who was blocking my exit, out of the way so that I could leave; they promptly tackled me to the ground, handcuffed me, and drove me to the hospital. I was not charged with any offense. I had no mental health issues (besides M.D.D.) before this and have had none since.

I'm assuming there must be some kind of paperwork somewhere about this event; would it appear in an FBI background check? If so, is this something I could explain?

Thanks!

13
  • 1
    Is this for a federal job, contractor or civilian? I've had a clearance for contractor position but am not sure what "expanded FBI background check" means. In the application form, you can explain some answers. But if denied, it is super hard to find out why.
    – danak
    Jul 29 at 16:11
  • 1
    This is a part of your life, you cannot change that. Don't let it hold you back. Proceed with the application, see what happens, and deal with anything that comes up as and when you need to do so. Don't assume the worst and pull out, because you will just end up in the same situation next time.
    – musefan
    Jul 29 at 16:22
  • 1
    Yeah, there's the background check the FBI does on its own candidates which is more stringent, I assume he means this kind though linkedin.com/pulse/…
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 29 at 16:23
  • 1
    @mxyzplk is correct about what I'm referring to as an FBI background check. Sorry for any ambiguity.
    – siegfried-
    Jul 29 at 16:24
  • 2
    In what jurisdiction are you in? In California, the background checks are strictly regulated based on the type of job you're applying for. Jul 29 at 19:08
5

If so, is this something I could explain?

If you are asked about this incident, then yes you should be able to explain the events the same as you have in this post. You should have, however, already disclosed the incident in your application as usually there is a question "have you ever been arrested". It is better to only have to explain what happened in the incident than to have to explain why you did not disclose the incident when asked.

Also, keep in mind that some companies will just reject you without explanation if they discover something they do not like in a background check. There is not much you can do in that case other than continue your job search and make sure that you do not leave out any information that your application asks for.

6
  • 2
    Thank you for your input. This is admittedly pedantic, but I'm wondering about the use of the word "arrest" here. Here is a quote, from this website, about what legally qualifies as an arrest: "The U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment authorizes an arrest only if the police have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that the suspect did it." Does this qualify as an arrest under this definition?
    – siegfried-
    Jul 29 at 16:21
  • 2
    @siegfried- I am not a lawyer but you admittedly assaulted an officer and were forcefully placed in handcuffs as a result, I would consider that an arrest but maybe the legal definition in your jurisdiction is different.
    – sf02
    Jul 29 at 16:26
  • 1
    You are entirely correct here. I wasn't thinking of this as assault (it really was just a baby push—one hand with little force).
    – siegfried-
    Jul 29 at 16:35
  • 2
    @siegfried- (I'm not a lawyer.) In many jurisdictions, "assault" is defined as "intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of harmful or offensive contact." law.cornell.edu/wex/assault In other words, simply pushing a police officer is "assault". Unwanted touching by someone else is often taken as "assault". Even threatening to hit someone is "assault". "Battery" is the actual hit.
    – David R
    Jul 29 at 18:07
  • 2
    Arrest records are public information and can be gotten at low cost; if you are not sure if you were technically arrested or not it’s easy to find out.
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 1 at 14:10
1

They certainly know about the arrest, and the hospitalization for M.D.D.

You need to assume they have the police report on this. Be upfront about what happened. You'll be asked to disclose any arrest or convictions, disclose this as an arrest before they run the official report. Make sure they know about this before getting the report! Also assume the company knows you were hospitalized for M.D.D.

If so, is this something I could explain?

It sounds like you didn't do well under stress, which finance jobs are known for. Hopefully they'll at least hear you side of the story. If you're lucky you'll get the chance to explain what happened and convince them you won't exhibit bizarre, non-violent behavior towards your coworkers, or push the security guard.

Be ready with a good answer about changes you've made in your life to never get that stressed out again. Focus on what's different in your life. Take responsibility for your actions.

Also, be ready to accept this one mistake may have cost you this job.

0

If you were detained, that's different from being arrested. If you weren't processed into the jail's intake system, you won't have a record that shows up in a criminal background check. You can always check the database and court records for the jurisdiction the incident took place and see if it shows up, and if it does, you should report it as a note somewhere on the background check form.

I was arrested as a minor after a fight in school, and got processed into the jail system, but it never shows up on my CBC. The only things that show up on my checks are a couple of traffic violations. In my case, the reason is that the state I was arrested in has a mandatory policy of not reporting juvenile offenses, so its like my arrest never happened.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .