Supervisor Harassment a Personal Reference

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Supervisor Harassment a Personal Reference

My supervisor found out that a coworker had given me a reference for a new job
and she called that co-worker and fussed her out about giving me a reference. Can
she legally call my personal references and harassed them? Did she violate
employment laws? Do I have a case to sue?

Asked on August 18, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, she did nothing illegal--unfair and arguably immoral, perhaps, but not illegal. Any person can call up another person and express displeasure about what they did. That is legal: there is no law saying that person A cannot complain about what person B did for person C. An employer can even call up an employee and tell her that she shouldn't have given a reference to a co-worker looking to change jobs: not only does the employer have the general right of anyone to comment on or complain about what someone has done, but an employer can also direct or give instructions, or criticism, about anything at all helping a co-worker leave the employer's employment and go elsewhere.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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