I was at a company for nearly 15 years (Let's call it BlueTech). I had been through many bosses. 2 years ago, I got a particularly bad one and happened to have an opportunity open up at another company, so I took it. I technically only reported to the new boss for a week tops before leaving BlueTech.

I worked for another company for 2 years.

Now I have a great opportunity for another job at BlueTech. The hiring manager wants to hire me, but she never received my application. I found out through the grapevine that I had been "blacklisted". It's been 5 business days. I've made dozens of phone calls to various people, sent lots of emails, etc and I still don't have an actual reason (or really even official confirmation). Meanwhile, the job will have to be filled soon. I'm going to miss it.

The one HR person that actually responded, I asked that she look at my last 5 or 10 annual reviews. She continually says "former coworker eligibility" isn't her area, but she won't give a name to contact. I've left voicemails with the person I think is responsible for eligibility, but no callback.

I suspect the reason is that they accused me of "stealing" some source code. However, I have screenshots of a conversation from 2 years ago with a coworker in which he revealed this accusation and then laughed about it stating he (and "they") DO have access to it (it was hosted on BlueTech servers). He is still on the same team.

I briefly talked to a lawyer, but the only "right" I might have is to find out WHY.

After 15 years there, I have lots and lots of friends. This is really blowing my mind.

Any tips would be appreciated.

  • @RatherNotsay And what did HR say when you asked why your application hadn't been sent to her?
    – David K
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 16:30
  • This is not a blanket policy here. I don't think court is an option. The most I would do is have my lawyer send a nasty letter requesting my full record and the reason for being ineligible for rehire. Commented May 25, 2017 at 18:15
  • I'll update, but the context of that sentence hints at it. A former coworker IMd me to tell me. Commented May 25, 2017 at 18:52
  • 1
    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/11520/16 Commented May 25, 2017 at 20:31
  • Sounds like a difficult situation, but there's no clear question here.
    – Caleb
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


All together now..... "HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND"

If you have any friends on the "C" level or "EVP" level, I'd go there. HR is not going to be of any use to you. They are there to protect the company's interests, not yours.

The only way to get to the bottom of this is to go to someone who has some actual power in the company who can lean on HR to release the information or remove the black mark.

Talk to the manager who wants you and ask if it would be OK with her if you inquired at higher levels. If she says "no" then drop it.

It might also be time to drop it.

Sadly, this is not uncommon for larger companies, which is why so many larger companies bleed talent.

Whenever an organization becomes large enough to require a bureaucracy, it is the one who is most skilled at navigating the bureaucracy that gets ahead, not the one with the most talent. This seems to be the case with you. Someone more skilled in the bureaucracy has put a roadblock in your way.

Don't push too hard though. As your lawyer said, you have a right to know, but not a right to a particular position.

  • While it is true that HR is not your friend, there are times when your interests and the company's interests align. For instance, if another company employee is lying about you in official company documents, fixing that will help both you and the company.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 13:05
  • @EvilSnack HR will not expose a company to liability Commented May 27, 2017 at 13:33

I suspect the reason is that they accused me of "stealing" some source code.

You really buried the lede on this one.

You left the company, the company accused you of stealing company assets. It doesn't sound like you actually resolved the accusation. It's a no-brainier that you would not be eligible for rehire. As far as the company is concerned, the last time you worked for them, you stole from them!

However, I have screenshots of a conversation from 2 years ago with a coworker (who is still on the team) laughing about it stating he (and "they") DO have access to it (it was hosted on BlueTech servers).

Stealing source code doesn't necessarily mean "make the source code unavailable to the company" so much as "maintain access to the source code after you should no longer be allowed access." (Similar to stealing via shoplifting vs stealing via illegal download)

  • RE: burying the lede: As mentioned, this is only suspicion on my part. The guy that was laughing about it with me is still on the same team. Plus, the main point of the question is "what should I do" not "Why did I get fired". My objective right now is just confirming why. That hasn't been done! As for your second point, I don't have access to the company servers... I'm not exactly sure what you're actually implying here. Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:14
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    If you want to be rehired, you need to address the accusation. And, "my buddy on the team thinks it's funny", is completely irrelevant. If the company thinks you stole from them, that's a pretty serious thing. It's surely in your personnel record and would absolutely prevent your resume from moving through the system. I'm not saying you did anything wrong or are currently doing anything wrong, but the company thinks you did something wrong. That seems like an obvious first thing to attempt to resolve.
    – Chris G
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:36
  • Which is my goal, but I can't even get confirmation that that is the problem. I'm trying though. Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:37
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    @RatherNotsay You mention that you left because of a particularly bad boss. Is it possible this boss told them you stole some code?
    – David K
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 20:15
  • 2
    @RatherNotsay - They are never going to tell you why. If they did you could potentially use it against the company in legal proceedings. HR's job is to try to protect the company from legal proceedings. Commented May 25, 2017 at 20:22

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