Former supervisor gave bad job reference

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Former supervisor gave bad job reference

I was informed by a former coworker who overheard my former supervisor tell a potential employer he would never hire me again and I had several personal problems. It was verfied by the potential employer that they he did give a bad reference but she wouldnt tell me what he said. He was not listed as my reference but took the call anyway. I was told that was not the reason I didn’t get the job but can he still get in trouble? My friend doesn’t want to be involved. Is there anything I can do about him?

Asked on May 23, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Probably not, although you might want to have a local employment attorney review all of the details with you.  One place you can look for a lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com

Your case, if you have one, would be for slander.  I see a number of problems, though, starting with the basic one, if your friend won't get involved, which is that what matters in court isn't what you know, it's what you can prove.  Also, in most states (and I'm not a Kentucky lawyer, so I'm not 100% sure this applies), an opinion isn't slander.  Truth is a defense, and the statement that, "I'd never hire this person again" is almost certainly true.  What might have been said about your supposed personal problems might be another matter, though.  Even so, if the potential employer called your old boss, most states will protect his answer to a call made to him, in this situation, except in the most extreme cases.


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