I recently got a job offer, and now I'm going through a background check with a contractor called HireRight. I seemed to pass on other parts of the background check, but they can't confirm for my employment at the startup I cofounded as the 2nd person.(startup of 4 people eventually) I was also the web developer and I have many emails from March including the one I confirmed to be a cofounder. Now Hireright is asking me for W2, 1099 forms or pay stubs to confirm my dates, but the problem is I didn't take any salary for the first 3 months.

So I started working full time in March, but we got funding in June. How can I make a good case that I indeed started working in March? I'm really frustrated that I went through a long process to land this job, and now a stupid background check is blocking me. So I really appreciate anyone that can give advice.

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    Did you call the background-checking company to discuss this? – Erik Dec 1 '16 at 21:31
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    If you are a cofounder that was not drawing a salary, I assume that there would be incorporation documents and/or legal agreements that include the date you started working that could be submitted. I would also think that the background check could just call the other owner(s) of the company to verify. – Justin Cave Dec 1 '16 at 21:37
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    Did your start up incorporate in the first month? If so whatever documents you signed at that point would be a solid indication of involvement. – Myles Dec 1 '16 at 21:50
  • @Justin Cave I wish there were incorporation documents, but I didn't bother about it back then since I had the control over the web application which was basically the entire product. And so we didn't have any conversation about salary, shares, etc until funding. So on documents, it looks like I started working in June. It's a startup, so it's not perfectly legally compliant in every aspect. – blueseal Dec 1 '16 at 23:24
  • Why does this question have to be specific to a specific company? "Background check company can't confirm my starting date" may attract a wider audience. – Brandin Dec 2 '16 at 8:21

Get a signed letter from your co-founder stating that you worked full-time without a salary until June. You can also check with your startup's accountant or bookkeeper and have them produce a signed letter stating that you worked full-time without a salary from March to June (*). If your startup was incorporated in March and you are listed as a co-founder in the incorporation document, forward the document to your prospective employer. If you've got a legal document that states the percentage of shares you have in your startup, now is the time to produce it. Tell them that's the best you can do to substantiate the fact that you were working full-time between March and June.

(*) I doubt that the IRS aka Internal Revenue Service accepts/lets you file quarterly 1099s with zero income on them. Confirm that with your accountant and state to your prospective employer that's the reason why you can't produce a quarterly 1099 for the months of March through June.

  • Good ideas. And I'm not sure if my name was in any legal 'paper' document back in March. I was added as a cofounder on Angel List and LinkedIn, and had control over the web application so I didn't need more. The first idea, to get a signature from the first cofounder, is always doable, but it's also less reliable so I'll check if HireRight would accept it. – blueseal Dec 1 '16 at 23:37
  • @SalvadorDali - You don't even know what you're talking about. You are recommending that a co-founder who worked on THEIR startup without pay to sue themselves for not paying a salary to themselves? Stop commenting, will you? – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 1 '16 at 23:56
  • @keshlam had no intention to troll. Will reiterate: based on my knowledge it is illegal in US (assumed US, based on Hireright) to work without payment. You as a worker will not be in trouble, but an organization can be. So the second co-founder would be very unwise to sign such a letter because he will open his company to the whole world of potential litigations (and if you know co-founders can sue another co-founders if things go bright). So if a company is still alive, has chances to succeed it is stupid for it to issue such letter. – Salvador Dali Dec 2 '16 at 2:22
  • @SalavadorDali - you're doubling down on your trolling. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 2 '16 at 6:05
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    @Salvador No, Salvador. If you're an owner of the business, you don't have to be paid. If you're an employee -which means you don't own the company- then you have to be paid a salary. This isn't relevant in this case but thank you for your concern. – blueseal Dec 2 '16 at 8:37

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