Can my employer contact my college regarding alleged misconduct?

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Can my employer contact my college regarding alleged misconduct?

I worked at a Hospital for one year. That position was eliminated. I moved into a new position in which I was in training when a complaint was filed against me. The hospital said that I broke their code of conduct and suspended me still unsure of what they are going to do because I said it was hearsay and untrue. But they informed me they will be contacting my college (which they are not affiliated with) and let them know I have broken their code of conduct. I am a nursing student at a private college about to start my clinicals. Do they have the right to contact my school and sabotage my career?

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, they do have a right to do this unless you had some agreement (e.g. a separation and release agreement) precluding them from doing so. There is no privacy expectation--or rather, no legally enforceable privacy expectation--in our performance at work, adherence to work rules or codes, etc.

However, it is dangerous (to them) to do this, since if they make a negative factual allegation about you which is untrue (not an opinion; a statement of fact, such as you did X when you in fact did not) and which damages your reputation or economic prospects, they may be committing defamation against you and you may be able to sue them for damages. If what they say is provably true, you have no cause of action; but if it's not provably true, you may wish to speak with a personal injury attorney to explore what recourse you might have.


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