Can an Employer Demand their Employees Not Provide References?

My school district is not renewing some teachers contracts union busting… it’s
being pursued legally. As an extra measure to show how serious they are,
they’ve decreed that no one is supposed to provide references or letters of
recommendation for the teachers whose contracts are not being renewed. Do
they have any power to do that?

Asked on March 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, your employer can do this. It is perfectly permissable under the law. A company or business can set the conditions of employment so long as no form of legally actionable discrimination plays a role.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, they can do this unless there is currently a contract in place in some way protecting the right to give or receive references. In the absence of a contract to the contrary, employers may set rules for employment and those rules may include barring the giving of references. Note that there is no inherent or intrinsic right in law to give or receive a reference.


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