HR Strange But True!
June 05, 2008

When it comes to choosing what references to use when you apply for a job, there are some do's and don'ts. In the don't column: Using a former employer as a reference if that company is going to call police when the potential new employer calls. But, that would never happen, would it? Ask a woman in Pennsylvania who is now facing criminal charges.

The Associated Press reports that the case involves a woman who applied for a job in Pittsburgh and used Murphy Motors in Williston, North Dakota, as a reference.

When the Pittsburgh employer contacted Murphy Motors to do a reference check, the company's owner, Pat Murphy, got on the phone. However, no glowing assessment of her work followed, and the woman probably wishes she had chosen another reference ? because Murphy called police .

While the woman did work as an office manager at Murphy Motors, Murphy alleges that she stole $5,000 from his company. The woman was arrested and faces theft of property charges, the news service reports.

"It was very convenient," Williams County (North Dakota) Sheriff's Captain Bob Stancel tells the AP.

Regardless of whether the allegations turn out to be proven true in court, the case should serve as reminder to applicants that employers do call their job references--and that they should have some idea what will be said about their time with the company.

If you have any strange but true stories about reference checks, we'd love to hear them. You can go to to submit yours.

Source: Associated Press

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