What to do if my past employer killed a prospective employment opportunity?

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What to do if my past employer killed a prospective employment opportunity?

My severance agreement clearly states that neither party shall engage in disparaging remarks against the other party. The CEO of my past company was called by a prospective employer and then the prospective employer immediately cancelled the interview and will not reschedule. They know each other professionally and the prospective employer reached out to my former employer. I was told by the hiring manager that the call would be made. This was to be the final interview before an offer was made. I’d like to avoid the legal fees of an attorney, but want see that this stops.

Asked on June 14, 2011 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, your agreement states that no "disparaging" remarks will be made. Yet certain remarks can be made that are truthful but not necessarily disparaging (as if the case of defamation). Do you know exactly what was said? The fact is that a former employer's negative response to a prospective employer's inquiry is not automatically actionable.  The law provides what is known as "qualified privilege" for answers to pre-employment inquiries. This exists so that companies will be free to answer these type of questions fully without fearing a lawsuit. Accordingly, a statement of opinion or of fact is not illegal.

However, that all having been said, a former employee can sue for willful or reckless remarks. In other words, for things that are false and grossly untrue. Defamation (specifically here slander) is a false statementthat is knowingly made and communicated to a third-party which results in a financial/personal loss to the subject of the remarks.  Assuming that the statements you allege meet the foregoing criteria, you may have grounds for a suit.

Bottom line, this will all come down to a matter of proof.  You will need to produce actual evidence that these remarks were in fact mad.  AT this point you may want to consultdirectly with a  personal injury or employment law attorney that handles type cases. 


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