If I have an EEO complaint with my former employer and have now just find out that it is giving me bad references, what can I do?

UPDATED: Nov 1, 2015

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If I have an EEO complaint with my former employer and have now just find out that it is giving me bad references, what can I do?

I used a reference checking service.

Asked on November 1, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

There is nothing you can do if the employer is either stating opinions (e.g. "John/Jane Doe was a bad employee" or "He/she was very difficult to work with") or true facts, even if they are negative for you: the law does not prevent someone from stating true facts or their own opinions, even if such harms you; and the law does not require good references. If they lie about you--state negative false or untrue facts (again: not opinions), then that may be defamation, and you may have a cause of action;  but otherwise, they can do this. People have found work and can find work despite negative references from former employers; you will have to find some way around the negative reference.

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