Is it illegal to create an app for personal or professional references.

I have an idea for an app, or website for customers to pay a set fee to get a reference when applying for a job. There will be certified references in major cities starting out.

Asked on September 7, 2016 under Business Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal if the reference will be in any way false--for example, it will create a reference in the name of a person or business for whom the employee did not work, or will state anything about the employee which is untrue or which is attributed to someone who did not say it, etc. False references to help someone get a job--i.e. to help someone get money from any employer based on false representations--are fraud, and could potentially result in criminal charges and/or being sued. 
If everything is 100% truthful, it would be legal, but it's difficult to see how you could generate a useful truthful reference for someone show did not work for you. (And if they did "work" for your business, your reference has to be truthful and accurate to their title, what they did, their tenure, their responsibilities, their pay, etc.)

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 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.