New Grad. New Job. Old Problem.
by Dan Beasley • November 19, 2019
Thomas was preparing to start his new job with a local construction materials manufacturer when an unexpected roadblock emerged. He was only waiting on a routine background check, so he was surprised to learn that his new job was suddenly in jeopardy.
His new employer was ready to hire him. But a third-party background check company told him that unless he took the GED or submitted a specific form demonstrating that his homeschool diploma was accredited, he would be unable to meet the minimum educational qualification for the position.
Thomas was perplexed. He was a high school graduate. So why would he need to take the GED?
What the Law Says
The background check company explained that because his high school diploma was issued by his parents and not accredited, it was not legitimate. But their claim was wrong.
Because Pennsylvania law recognizes homeschooling as a legal form of education, a homeschool diploma is valid verification that a student completed high school. And the law specifically provides that a parent may issue the homeschool diploma.
Given the legal sufficiency of Thomas’s high school education, it was both erroneous and discriminatory for the background check company to mandate that Thomas present proof of accreditation. Obtaining accreditation for an education that has already been completed is just not possible. It’s also not required.
Still, the background check company was insistent and refused to listen to Thomas’s explanation of the legitimacy of his homeschool education.
Removing the Roadblock
Thomas reached out to Home School Legal Defense Association for assistance. After working with his parents to verify their compliance with state homeschool law, I wrote the background check company on Thomas’s behalf, pointing out the legal authority for Thomas’s qualification. The background check company cleared him to start his new job within 24 hours, and Thomas started work on the next business day.
Thomas is now enjoying his work manufacturing premium building materials for the construction industry.
While I’m pleased with this resolution for Thomas, it is concerning to see how regularly background check companies misunderstand homeschooling and are unwilling to listen to parents and graduates who try to explain its legitimacy. Thomas was qualified for the position, but a technical misunderstanding nearly cost him his job.
It’s a privilege to advocate for graduates who face unfair treatment because they were homeschooled. And I’m proud that doing so is part of HSLDA’s mission.