Background Checking/References

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Background Checking/References

Are there any laws in Hawaii about what a employer can say during a
background check?

Asked on December 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The ex-employer may say *anything* that 1) is true (they can't lie about you; stating a negative factual untruth about you may be defamation), or 2) is an opinion, even if it is a very negative or unflattering one (only negative untrue *factual* statements are defamation, not negative opinions--everyone is legally entitled to an opinion, no matter how hurtful or harmful), so long as 3) there is no contractual agreement (such as in a confidentiality or severance or separation agreement) to not say it. Or to put it another way: if the ex-employer did not agree in a written contract to not say it, then so long as it's not a negative lie about you, they can do so.


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