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Ra1yah

Are there automatic disqualifiers For MTA conductor applicants?

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Hello, I am set up for medical exam and final processing tomorrow at 7:30AM, for a conductor position. Those of you who have already completed this process know full well how lengthy and arduous a task it is to complete the 21-page application. I have given all information to the best of my recollection, however I was stumped on how to answer the following:

 

"Were you ever disciplined (i.e. suspended, demoted, reprimanded, fined, fired, terminated, discharged) in any position by either a public or private employer?"

 

Here's why:

I worked at a major fitness company's corporate office from 2009-2010. the office was located in a HUGE office building, with several other companies housed in the building, as well as vacant floors. I informed my supervisors with well over 30 days notice that I would resign my office position to pursue a Personal Trainer position with the SAME company.they were happy for me and supportive. Towards the end of October I went to one of the vacant floors with another co-worker during a lunch period. This was not a prohibited area, nor were employees instructed at any time not to be there. I was questioned by a building maintainence worker as to why I was there. I did not answer and immediately left the area. The very next day I was called into the human resources manager's office with my supervisor there as a witness, and questioned about my wanting to resign to become a personal trainer. Thinking that I was being questioned for an official notice of resignation, I answered all questions. The the HR mngr notified me that the maintainence worker ID'd me as having been on the vacant floor. I verified this information was correct. I was then told in these EXACT words, "You can consider this your early resingation. You will not receive severence pay, you will be paid up till this time, please go to your desk and remove your things." My supervisor cried while he spoke to me and apologized to me later. It seems he was more intent on being a jerk to me, than being clear.

 

I realize that the discharge was implied here, however it would have been better for the HR manager to be EXTREMELY explicit. At NO point were the words "fired, terminated, discharged, etc" exchanged between myself and the HR manager. I maintain that I was forced to resign early from the company. When I applied for unemployment it was difficult to explain that I didn't know whether I had been formally discharged and for what reason. At no point was I asked to sign a statement, nor was I given a 'pink slip'. When I asked an HR rep for verification of employment letter, it was like she typed it up that moment and sent to me in an email attachment. It didn't verify specific information I needed, and I had to ask her 2 other times to be more specific. The DOL initially denied me unemployment and I appealed. I won the case and provided ALL the details, circumstances to the appelate court judge. The employer, their lawyers/reps, and maintainence worker (witness) did not show up. The judge overturned the decision and granted me Unemployment Benefits - and furthermore declared:

 

"Claimant acknowleges being present on a vacant floor with her friend during lunch. However, the claimant credibly testified that she was not aware that she was not permitted to be on the vacant floor, and that she knew of no rule that she had violated by being there. In addition, claimant had never received a warning about engaging in such activity. Under the circumstances, I conclude that claimant's actions constituted poor judgment at worst, and did not rise to the level of misconduct under the Unemployment Insurance Law. Accordingly, claimant lost her job under non-disqualifying circumstances."

 

I was granted benefits. My former employers appealed that decision on the basis that "their first-hand witness could not attend the initial hearing." I appeared in court a second time and the case was again decided in my favor after 5 minutes. It was not the maintainence worker who showed, by my former crying supervisor. I understand she was a corporate pawn, but she lied about being the witness and was caught in her lie immediately. The decision to grant benefits was again decided in my favor and was never again questioned.

 

I wish I could've cleared this up before I was called. But it was so sudden. Thursday 4/5/12 I did the drug test. Friday afternoon I was called about medical and final processing for tomorrow - no time! All this is a roundabout way of relaying that I do not want to be dishonest about my former job history, however I wonder if I will have a chance to explain this in my interview. I still have original court documents as proof.

Can anyone tell me if I will be allowed to explain the details regarding my departure from this former job? I don't want to be forced into saying I was discharged for misconduct, when it's such a unique circumstance. Any insights anyone can give will be greatly appreciated. Please no jokes or sarcasm, as this is an extremely sensitive thing for me to deal with. I just want straight answers/advice. Thanks in advance.

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If you do get a job with TA, do not, DO NOT, D O N O T go where you aint suppose to be, even if there is no sign telling you that the area is prohibited.

We walk through maintenance part of the depot all the time, and I try to stay away from parts, tools and other stuff laying around, ( allthought it is not prohibited for us to be there , exsept under the bus i gues ) I dont want some one even get an idea in their head that i was near a part or a tool box and something was missing or mispaced, screw that, there are some people who want to steal, break suff and blame you.

 

Just bring Court papers with you , and that will be enough to prove you aint do nothing bad, nothing wrong. Thats what the judge rulled, so its writen in stone.

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Like Oleg said, it seems like you would need to mention this incident, since it seems like you were, at the least, "reprimanded" for what happened. However, since the judge cleared you of any wrongdoing (other than some poor judgement, which is not a fireable/reprimandable offense), you can convincingly shows that you were wrongly reprimanded. THat should be enough to make sure this does not bite you in the butt.

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Thank you both very much. Yes, when I went in to complete the medical exam/final processing, I was very forthcoming about what happened. I answered 'yes' that I had been discharged in the past, but I left additional data with a brief explaination of what happened. I was told that when an investigation/background check is done, that at least I have been honest and I have documents to back up my claim. I can only hope that my former employers - over a year later - will not try to sabotage my efforts at obtaining other employment. It certainly was poor judgment on my part, and after having to learn such a hard lesson, I would never allow that to happen again.

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Also, to anyone who came across this post hoping for answers to a similar question/circumstance, you should know that the person who processes your paperwork on the day you go in for medical/final processing, is not going to automatically disqualify you or send you home packing if you answer "YES" to the question "have you ever been fired...?" Just be honest. Provide any information that you can. This whole post came about because a long-time member of this forum posted that "automatic disqualifiers" are: past arrests/convictions, failed drug tests, having been fired/discharged from jobs in the past, etc. I can't attest to the validity of all his claims, however, be sure to ask the people at the MTA employment office, and your interviewer any questions you may have. Realize that a lot of individuals on this site mean the best but do not/cannot always provide you with the most accurate information. I almost got so discouraged thinking that I would be turned away immediately, that I almost didn't want to go to the interview. Don't let that be the case for you. If you're embarrased or worried about how your questions might affect your chances, make an annonymous phone call to the emploment office.

 

Monday, April 9, 2012 I was sworn in as an MTA Conductor. I hope that will remain the case for a long time.

 

Good luck everyone.

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Most times, as long as the issue, whatever it is- legal, dmv, court cases, tickets, is resolved & closed, it is not an automatic disqualification. Civil service or (MTA) finding out something you failed to disclose after you've been hired CAN lead to a termination afterword. There was a C/R terminated with 2 years on the job for failing to disclose something, cant remeber his name or find the story though online..

 

Good Luck on the job.

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