What information can former employers give as to your employment with them?

I worked with a hostile boss for 5 years. We parted in mutual agreement and that boss is now gone. I had a freind (and potential employer) call her replacement inquiring of my time there. He admitted he did not know me but proceeded to read comments (negative and untrue) the former boss had written in my file (unknown to me). Is this legal?

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A former employer may divulge work or disciplinary history, or the reason for an employee leaving, as long as their is no confidentiality or nondisclosure or nondisparagement agreement (such as might be found in a separation agreement) to the contrary.

However, if the former employer makes untrue factual assertions about you, that may be defamation. (Note: they must be untrue facts to be actionable; true facts, no matter how negative, or opinions, are not actionable.) If you believe you have been defamed, speak with a personal injury attorney to explore your rights and potential recourse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.