Not getting hired because pro-life?

Because abortion has been such a controversial issue lately, I’m scared that it is going to affect my employment.
A quick google search of my name will come up showing me as part of my universities pro-life club.
I am in engineering and will be applying for co-op jobs soon and I’m scared that employers might do a background check and judge me because of it.
Has anyone had an experience with this? Or am I just over thinking.

I think you may be over-reacting. But you bring up an important issue all of us have to face.

What I am going to say is not meant for you specifically but many others in these forums who in the same sentence talk “big” about being a crusader for the Catholic faith, and then whine when someone or some organizations pushes back:

  1. Jesus told us this would happen over and over again. You live in a world and a society that does not follow the teachings of the Church, or any Judao-Christian version. But he promised you he will be with you to support you through life.

  2. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t honestly witness to the faith only when it’s comfortable for you. If you don’t want potential employers or co-workers to know of your faith then you have to keep it a secret and off of social media. If you want to witness your faith, then you must be prepared for the risks.

Again, if any company would not hire you because of your posts on facebook, then you would probably would not to work with those people. But your question is a good example that all of us have to be prepared to deal with what we post on social media

Employers should not discriminate you based on your personal views. I believe such a practice is against the law.

But, in the absurd situation that someone does do that (which probably means it was not a good place to work at, to begin with), then be humbly glad for having the backbone of a Christian.

And remember that fear never comes from the spirit of Christ.

Why would this affect your employment prospects?

An employer would only be interested if this would affect your ability to do your job effectively, or whether you are engaging in anti-social or criminal behaviour. Why would any employer be concerned that you have a pro-life stance? How would it in any way remotely affect your ability to be a good engineer?

And if an employer would discriminate against you on this basis, would you really want to work for them?

Funny you should mention this, I just heard a Priest talking about how religious believers are overrepresented in the engineering field.

Anyway, yeah, it could have some consequences… maybe bad, maybe good, who knows? I wouldn’t worry too much.

I am very involved in pro-life activities and have had at least one case where someone initially didn’t want to rent to me because of my pro-life work. It did open the door to some conversation, however, and she ultimately changed her mind.

It IS possible that your pro-life activities will be a concern for potential employers. The question is, do you try and cover your tracks or just know that God has a plan for you and trust him to guide you in that direction? We, all of us, are asked to be willing to suffer for our faith.

Prayers for you.

See this link

nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-potential-employers-check-your-facebook-page.html

If there are no privacy settings it is open season.

According to this article, 56% of employers from the UK say if they can, they will.

work.chron.com/can-employer-look-private-facebook-10226.html

As the article says, most of the “snooping” is often BEFORE one is called for an interview, so you will probably know you are being discriminated against.

This, from t"he link posted:

“Researchers from Northern Illinois University claimed that your Facebook photos, status updates and conversations with friends could be used by employers to assess your emotional stability, conscientiousness, extroversion, intellectual curiosity and agreeableness.”

It’s not just your moral views that employers might have a problem with. (In any case, I think that favoring traditional marriage is more of a risk in the employment market than pro-life views.)

It’s also that an employer can get an idea of how much time you waste on social media, how customer friendly you might be, or how disgruntled, and how committed to a work ethic. It’s these things that employers often consider even more than technical qualifications.

Thank you for your pro-life work. I hope you’ll continue to be involved in saving lives as a non-student.

Generally speaking, employers outsource background checks on people.

Those checks involve police checks with all local police agencies (in your town and neighboring towns, as well as previous jurisdictions where you’ve lived in the past several years), state cops, and the federal government. If you haven’t been convicted of something, then nothing will show up.

They will also do a credit check to see if you have a history of not being financially responsible. For my purposes, when I (as a hiring manager) check these reports, what I look for is a history of unpaid or overdue debt. Something that, for example, can be attributed to a medical crisis…or something that can be associated with past problems (for example, if a person was unemployed for a period of time in the past and they became 30 or 60 days delinquent on credit cards), then I don’t worry about it.

Reference checks try to get a picture of your personality. They won’t specifically ask about pro-life activities or whatever.

Drug tests are pretty self-evident as to their purpose.

Previous employer checks merely ask whether you were or were not employed. There is a protocol (to avoid lawsuits) where prior employers do not characterize your previous employment or give details. They may potentially validate your salary and job title, but even that is a maybe.

Bottom line is if you’ve been arrested and convicted of something in regards to your pro-life activities, that will turn up in a background check. Otherwise, nothing to worry about.

The more likely thing to mess you up is if you have financial issues. ABOVE ALL, take care of your student loan debt (if you have any). DO NOT let that get behind. There are a whole ton of really bad implications if you do.


As a corollary, if you have to get a security clearance (where they do a quote end quote really thorough background check), the biggest thing is if you are arrested/convicted. (I’ve held a security clearance since 1979…I have never had any kind of problem). You can see the specific criteria in DOD Regulation 5200.2-R, Personnel Security Program. You want to look at Appendix 8 (Adjudicative Guidelines) to see what they look for.

Yes, most of them would probably like to ‘snoop’ on potential employees, but it doesn’t then follow that these employers would discriminate against someone because they were involved in the Pro-life movement.

There are other perfectly legal activities however that employers are more likely to discriminate against as a result, such as being active in a Trade Union. Apparently, quite recently, in the UK, there was also a ‘list’ circulated amongst certain high profile companies containing names people who were engaged, perfectly lawfully, in Trade Union activities. Some people ended up being more or less blacklisted from certain industries because of being a Union rep, or even sometimes just an active member of a Trade Union.

It’s not like that in the UK. I’ve been involved in recruiting employees before, and I’ve read some references that are pretty damning.

In the UK an previous employer can say what they like in a reference, just so long as nothing they say is factually inaccurate. They are very much allowed to express personal opinions on a previous employee.

I think the system in the UK is wrong in this regard.

If an employer feels this way, you probably wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. :wink:

I think it will depend on what field of work you are in. I can understand the concern. At some places of employment were my coworkers to have found out I was non-religious they might make it a very unhappy place for me (it’s happened before). But I doubt that your pro-life stance will have a huge impact. At the areas that I’ve worked at where the workers are more technical it seems that there is less concern with religious and certain political matters. If you are working at a place that is more culturally diverse then such matters are likely not to come up at all. Now if you go into a sales and marketing area or even a non-sales non-marketing area but have to interact with clients your publicly expressed views will then matter; there the concern becomes "how will our clients interact with this person or what will those clients find on him. "

If it concerns you my only suggestion is to take back ownership of your name on Google and the other search engines. I have been writing a lot over the course of the past 10 years, purchased the domains that are associated with my names, and a lot of the stuff that I have written links to other respectable sites (this actually helps raise the search ranking of my writings). As a result if some one does a search on my name they will find the material that I want them to find. Many times people don’t go past the first page of search results.

Why? I’ve given some rather non-committal references on prior employees because I didn’t feel like taking a lot of time defending a lawsuit. On the other hand, it would have been better to have given another potential employer some warning if my experience was bad. From an HR standpoint one is always trying to avoid landmines.

Because some references can verge on the personal. The reference is only the personal opinion of a previous employer and can reflect a previous employer’s personal dislike of a person. The employer can be at fault, as much as the employee, for ill-feeling and conflict, but in a negative reference only one party gives it’s side of the story. This is particularly damaging in cases when references are taken up prior to interview.

They aren’t required to call you back and tell you why they threw your application and resume in the trash.

A lot of things here are driven by attorneys. There is a whole sub-practice of law that specializes in suing employers for wrongful termination. Technically, you do not typically tell an employee why you are terminating him/her. This is particularly true when terminating an employee for unacceptable performance rather than for egregious violation of disciplinary policy (such as theft, fights, etc.). That gets really tough when you have to let a truly nice person (but one who is the epitome of sloth) go.

A negative reference, in such a circumstance, could provide such an attorney valuable evidence in a “wrongful termination” lawsuit…therefore, you just don’t do it. There are plenty of labor lawyers who will threaten lawsuits even if there is no cause; most corporations simply settle such threats out of existence rather than pursue them in court. It’s far easier to simply not say anything rather than say something that could potentially be used as fodder.

True, but the reality of the situation is that employers will not even ask the question nor will they care…unless you appear to be so blatant and dedicated to your beliefs that you will not be able to work as part of a team. However, that applies to people with such strong views on any subject. Chances are, unless you bring up during the interview that you are strongly pro-life…or put your resume on some theoretical pro-life stationary…the subject won’t come up.

Of course, there are exceptions for firms that are overtly political as a part of their business practices (for example, if one is a free-market conservative and accepts employment at a nearby SEIU local, one had better be willing to keep his head down). If you are pro-life and want to work at Planned Parenthood, well, you know what to expect. But that type of dichotomy is the exception to the rule.

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