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March 28, 2017

Stanley Black & Decker Won’t Let Homeschool Grad Get Away


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Joel Fischer JOEL FISCHER Legal Assistant for Indiana

A member family in Indiana recently encountered discrimination when a background check company refused to clear their daughter because she had been homeschooled. Like most of the discrimination cases we handle, this one was eventually resolved—but not in the way we expected.

The young woman had been working for several months in a temporary position at a local branch of Stanley Black & Decker. Because of her great performance, Stanley Black & Decker offered her a permanent position.

As is customary for new employees, the homeschool graduate’s information was sent to a third party verification company for what should have been a routine background check. But a background investigator threw a wrench into the works when the third-party company could not verify the young woman’s graduation from high school.

With the hiring process grinding to a halt, the young woman’s family reached out to HSLDA.

Providing More Information

As the legal assistant for Indiana, I spoke with the young woman’s mother about the situation. Upon my advice, the family provided their daughter’s high school transcript and HSLDA’s summary of Indiana homeschool law to Stanley Black & Decker’s human resources representative.

After receiving this information, the representative informed the family that Stanley Black & Decker was still concerned, because the company typically requires a diploma to come from an accredited school.

Eventually, the representative and I were able to talk. I explained that in Indiana homeschools are considered nonpublic schools, and that there is no requirement that they be accredited. I also explained our member family’s authorization to certify their daughter’s high school graduation, and I even offered for HSLDA to provide a verification letter on the homeschool graduate’s behalf, as we frequently do.

A week later, the family shared some good news—with an unusual twist. Because of Stanley Black & Decker’s high estimation of the homeschool graduate, the company completed the young woman’s hiring process without the third party company’s verification of her high school graduation.

Usually HSLDA can clear up any confusion created by uninformed verification companies, and these are often some of the most rewarding projects I get to work on. But this case was uniquely refreshing because for once, an employer was willing to buck the wooden decision of someone who had no personal experience with the employee, and instead make the commonsense decision to hire a person on the basis of her character and competency. By those standards, most homeschool graduates won’t have any trouble measuring up.