My son was laid off (made redundant) from his job because of a work force reduction. He got a new job which he loved after only being in it for just a short period of time. He was looking forward to doing well.Two former line managers gave references to the agency that had completed the screening for the new job. However, when the new company contacted my son’s former employer for references, the former employer told them about a disciplinary action he had received. The disciplinary action was a written warning that would be in effect for six months and would finish in March, 2012, if he had still been employed with them.The new employer has now asked my son to resign or they will dismiss him. They say he was dishonest in his application.Will he always have this hanging over him in future employment ?
I’m very sorry about what happened with your son and I can imagine how worried you are about him and his future.Probably your son had hoped that having former managers vouch for him would help his new employers overlook the warning in his file, even if they found out about it. It’s a very good thing that the managers wrote the references, but the request for a disciplinary history would go to HR not to those managers, so that is where the information about the warning came from.The reason for the request to resign doesn’t seem to be that your son was given a warning, rather that he didn’t mention it on his application, even though he was asked about disiplinary actions in his work history.Being completely truthful on an application is always important because many employers view truthfulness to be more important than job skills. I know of several recent situations where employees were dismissed shortly after hiring and in one case a year later, because they had left significant negative information off their applications. So, it’s a sensitive issue to employers.The best news is that a warning would probably not be considered a very serious sanction, unless the warning was about something that would be a severe concern for a new employer. So, if he can get another chance at a new place, and is completely truthful, the refereneces from his former managers will be tremendously helpful in overcoming that one negative thing.After he has established himself in a job, the next job he seeks probably won’t require a history of discipline at every job, just the most recent one. Your son will soon be able to move past that one regrettable situation.One thing he can do while he’s looking for work is to also look for volunteer work, perhaps in something related to his regular work. In that way maybe he can list the volunteer work as part of his employment and use it as way to show his knowledge, skills and positive work ethic. Even a few hours a week could be helpful for showing his capabilities. He also should be prepared with a brief statement about the event that created the warning in his files. The best approach is to say he got the warning, give a very brief overview of what happened, say he understands the reason for the warning and assure the future employer that it will never happen again. If possible he should say what he will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Having a brief answer ready will help him in interviews or written explanations. Best wishes to your son and to you as well. Your support and encouragement mean a lot to him, I’m sure. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.
Tina Lewis Rowe