What can be done if an ex-employer isn’t holding up to their end of a termination agreement?

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What can be done if an ex-employer isn’t holding up to their end of a termination agreement?

My wife resigned from a school system rather than facing termination hearings over made up claims. She was given a written agreement that said the school system would give her favorable/neutral references to future employers and take out anything in her file that was negative. It’s been over 3 years but she still hasn’t landed a new job with a school system. Her resume has been reviewed by administrators at a higher level and they all say it’s very impressive. I believe the old administration may be slandering her name verbally so there is no paper trail. How can this be proven and what can be done about it?

Asked on August 13, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues here.
Legally, the termination agreement is a contract; it can be enforced in court via a "breach of contract" lawsuit if necessary. If the former employer is violating the agreement, your wife can sue them for monetary compensation (e.g. reflecting the income she has lost due to their breach) and/or a court order that they honor the agreement.
But you have to be able to prove the case; since your wife would be suing, the "burden of proof" or obligation to prove her claim would be on her. If everything is done orally (that, not "verbally," is the correct term for "not in writing"), then your wife can only prove her case is someone who heard or received the negative review or defamation is willing to testify about it.


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