BAE recruiter says manager pushed illegal hire

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BAE Systems/File Photo

CONCORD, NH – A New Ipswich man who was fired from his job as a recruiter for multi-national defense contracts BAE Systems Inc., Joseph Chalifoux, says he was pressured out after he reported an illegal hire pushed by a manager at the Nashua campus.

Chalifoux is suing the company, which provides weapons systems for the United States Department of Defense, after he worked there for three months in 2018.

Chalifoux’s lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Concord, states that he was hired on a 12-month contract to recruit employees for the company.

Chalifoux was technically an employee of third-party vendor ATR, a recruiting company with a contract with BAE. Chalifoux says in his lawsuit that he was hired by ATR but worked out of BAE’s offices. Chalifoux states that he was told he would be eligible for a permanent position with BAE if the job went well.

Chalifoux’s lawsuit states that he was getting praise from BAE managers for the job he was doing when he ran into a problem with one BAE manager. This manager, Sharon Stehlik, allegedly insisted Chalifoux hire an under-qualified candidate known as J.B. for a technical position in the company, despite there being better-qualified candidates who had applied for the job.

“Ms. Stehlik was extremely focused on getting Mr. Chalifoux to process J.B. through the system and even called Mr. Chalifoux from her cell phone during off hours about her desire for Mr. Chalifoux to do so,” the lawsuit states. “J.B. was far less qualified for the Process Tech 1 position than some of the other applicants that Mr. Chalifoux sent to Ms. Stehlik for her review. Ms. Stehlik told Mr. Chalifoux that J.B. was a pizza deliverer,” the lawsuit states.

Chalifoux states that he did not sign off on the hire because he thought it would violate federal affirmative action law on hiring practices.

“Mr. Chalifoux thought Ms. Stehlik’s handling of (the hire) violated (federal) regulations since ‘all qualified applicants’ for that position did not receive consideration for employment. Also, some of the applicants Ms. Stehlik did not consider were veterans and, even though J.B. was in the Reserves, Mr. Chalifoux thought Ms. Stehlik violated these other applicants’ rights to affirmative action for veterans by not considering them,” the lawsuit states.

Chalifoux reported his concerns to his ATR managers as well as managers at BAE. In the coming weeks, a manager at BAE started to dispute his time cards and dock his pay, the lawsuit states. He also had his permission to work from home on Fridays revoked, the lawsuit states.

As part of his job, Chalifoux was required to enter information into a hiring database giving reasons for why applicants were or were not hired, putting in a disposition and a “reason code.” He claims he was pressured to enter false information when it came to the J.B. hiring.

“These disposition and reason codes described the reason why the candidate was not selected for hire. There were certain defined disposition and reason codes and, since J.B. was not the most qualified applicant, if Mr. Chalifoux had entered a disposition and reason code for some of the other applicants, those codes would have been false. Entering false codes would have created a false record which would cover up BAE’s failure to comply with the equal opportunity clauses in its contracts with the federal government,” the lawsuit states.

After Chalifoux refused to enter what he claims would have been false information, things went south. He was soon contacted by an outside job recruiter who offered him a job as a recruiter for BAE, with an identical job description to the position he currently held.

“This made Mr. Chalifoux fear that a decision had been made to terminate his employment and they were already looking to fill his position,” the lawsuit states.

BAE is trying to get the lawsuit dismissed, claiming that Chalifoux had trouble staying on schedule.

“Working within the scheduled hours was a challenge for him,” the company states in a reply to the lawsuit.

The company also claims that it investigated the hiring of J.B. and found nothing improper.