Can an employer give a bad reference?

UPDATED: Oct 9, 2011

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Can an employer give a bad reference?

Can an employer that you used to work for give out a negative or bad reference to another prospective or future employer? Don’t employees have a right to view their file or records if someone is saying something negative about them?

Asked on October 9, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is an assumption that an employer will be in some way liable for giving more than just dates f employment, salary and job title when a prospective employer calls.  That is simply not true.  There is nothing illegal about an employer giving a potential employer information other than the above.  In fact, 30 states have adopted reference check immunity laws. These laws generally offer protection to employers who provide job references for current or former employees.  What does protect the potential employee is the defamation law.  The employer can not knowingly give false information about you to the level of defamation and thus causing you pecuniary (monetary) loss.  If you think that this has happened seek help.  Good luck.

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