FBI Applicant Can’t Sue Over Background Check

     (CN) – A Florida appeals court dismissed the defamation claims of a Florida man who failed to get a job with the FBI based on information his former employer providing during the agency’s background check.

     Tony Arce left his job as an investigator with The Wackenhut Corp. in 2003 after fewer than five months. Neither side was pleased with the other’s performance.
     One year later, Arce got a conditional job offer as an investigative specialist with the FBI. However, after the FBI conducted a background check, it rescinded its job offer to Arce.
     That prompted Arce to file a defamation lawsuit against Wackenhut.
     The trial court ruled for Wackenhut, determining that the transcript of an interview between an FBI employee and Yanir Hill, Wackenhut’s human resources manager, is inadmissible hearsay.
     The Miami-based Third District Florida Court of Appeals agreed, but expressed sympathy for Arce’s plight.
     “He might have been legally maligned by his employer to the FBI,” Judge Frank Shepherd wrote. “That also might have been the reason the conditional offer of employment was withdrawn. The FBI says it receives so many requests for information each year that it cannot be bothered to produce a witness at some convenient time to either assist one of the citizens it serves, or dispel his belief concerning why he did not get the job,” Shepherd wrote.
     “Absent a witness, Arce’s case is lost. As an agent of the sovereign, the FBI has every right to behave in such a way as to deliver this result. However, it strikes us that this action is uncharacteristic of the ‘Government of the People, by the People, and for the People,’ famously envisioned by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address over 140 years ago.”

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