What to do if my former employer is giving the wrong reason for my resignation?

I resigned from state service effective this month. There were 3 doctors who stated I should never return to corrections for medical reasons(stress). Last week I got a letter from the state telling me they accepted my resignation. However, it also said that were putting in my personnel file that I resigned under unfavorable circumstances due to an investigation (I was aware of this). Now every employer that contacts corrections for background check, sees this. I am basically screwed. Is this legal for them to basically say, you resigned but you’ll under our terms. I resigned due to doctor recommendations. How can they retaliate like this? Is it legal?

Asked on September 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If what they are saying is true, even if negative, there is most likely nothing you can do about it, unless they are violating some actual agreement or contract in regards to what they are saying or can say (that's because if a contract is being violated, you can take legal action to enforce its terms). In the absence of a contract, people may legally disclose the truth to third parties.

However, if it is untrue--that is, if there were no investigation--then they may be committing defamation: defamation is the making of untrue factual statements which damage a person's reputation. If they are defaming you, you could sue them for compensation and for a court order requiring them to stop.

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