I’d like to read a statement that was recently received from a turncoat candidate. You know the kind . . . one who forgets how you helped him get off the street and into the seat . . . until he’s back pounding the pavement. It’s being reprinted with the permission of our client, the recruiter who placed him, but I’ve changed the names and dates. I’ve also edited it for the purpose of analysis.It is to be understood that all enclosed statements and/or facts are presented to me, Steven B. Reese, on this date, April 15, 2002, of my own free will, and are accurate to the best my memory can establish.It is further understood that the delay in revealing these facts is due to job security, and obtaining new employment.On approximately June 1, 2001, I became aware of employment opportunities with Harcourt Manufacturing Co. through conversations with Joseph Davis at Davis & Associates.(Chronology of how placement occurred has been deleted)Week of June 22, 2001, I was notified by John Eskridge (hiring authority) that Davis & Associates was going to bill Harcourt relative to my employment. I was told by Mr. Eskridge that no fee would be paid.During the first week of July 2001, Mr. Eskridge informed me that a bill was received from Davis & Associates, and that it would be ignored.In August 2001, Mr. Eskridge notified me in a closed door meeting of receiving a Summons from Davis & Associates. He informed me that he would counter sue. I asked him about my job. He told me he would have to get out of paying the fee for me to stay.Mr. Eskridge then called into his office the Vice President of Administration, Louis Carter. They discussed what to do, and the following is the result of the discussion:They went through the ad files for an ad that I may have responded to. No ad was found for a Senior Accountant, but one was found for a Controller the week prior to my being hired. It was decided by John Eskridge that this ad was one I might answer.The dates were changed on all documents to coincide with the ad I supposedly responded to, and I was ordered to supply them with a resume that didn’t show Davis & Associates if I wanted to keep my job.I ask that it be considered I acted in the only manner I could to prevent the loss of my employment.We receive candidate confessions about “hiring sting rings” all the time. Recruiters are usually delirious, since they think that, with the candidate’s help, they’ll recover their fee. Maybe even get punitive damages for the fraud, theft (called conversion in civil cases), and conspiracy.Unfortunately, their delirium soon subsides as we advise them:1. THE CANDIDATE CAN BE IMPLICATED IN THE HIRING STING RINGThe civil courts have vacillated about what to do with a charge of conspiracy when one of two alleged co-conspirators is found innocent.This because a conspiracy requires an agreement to do something wrong . . . in this case, to defraud the recruiter, Davis & Associates. Conspiracy is often defined as an illegal contract. So far so good, since the candidate agreed with the hiring authority (or another agent of the employer).However, an agreement must be voluntary to be valid. The candidate will naturally allege that he was forced to agree under the threat (expressed or implied) of losing his job. Steve Reese was no exception. Whether your lawyer asserts duress, undue influence or coercion really makes no difference . . . anything that deprives the candidate of his own free will vitiates (negates) his consent, and therefore his agreement. No agreement, no contract; no contract, no conspiracy. Piracy, yes. Conspiracy, no. The employer can’t legally conspire with itself.2. THE CANDIDATE CAN BE DISCREDITEDAt best, Reese is a witless witness. He should have known better. How can a judge or jury believe someone who so willingly compromised his integrity?When Reese takes the witness stand, he can be impeached (discredited) by showing his prior inconsistent acts in participating in the scam. What about his motive to retaliate against Harcourt? A confessing candidate is invariably a former employee. Why did he leave? Even if he had good reviews and left voluntarily, the embezzling employer isn’t beyond changing the personnel file. It’s already practiced in the art.3. THE FILE HAS ALREADY BEEN SANITIZEDThere’s a difference between truth and proof. Reese can recite chapter and verse on a stack of Bibles, but his personnel file out-shouts him in the courtroom.Even if documents in the file hadn’t been changed or destroyed before, Harcourt can do it now. Did Reese retain a copy of his original application showing Davis referred him? Not likely. How about the resume with Davis’ name? He never received a copy.Everything in the file that relates to the hire is suitable for framing: A backdated application with a check in the box for “Answered an Ad.” A personal resume with Harcourt’s “Received” date stamp. A cover letter from Reese answering the ad stamped “Received” on the same date as the resume. And not a syllable about Davis anywhere.The only fee confirmation worth having is documentation from the employer in your files.
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