What to do about being denied gainful employment opportunities?

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What to do about being denied gainful employment opportunities?

I work for a church/daycare as janitor. They illegally delayed paying me several times, so I reported it to the D.O.L. The church said ‘I hurt God’, and are now blacklisting me to keep me from getting another job. They even got an officer from the local police dept. to falsify my criminal background checks to discourage prospective employers from hiring me My background checks should be spotless,I have NONE
What can I do to protect myself from this?

Asked on March 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Note that they do not need to give you a positive reference, and can even be negative about you as long it is truthful (and opinions are, for this purpose, "truthful" in that an opinion, being an opinion, cannot be false). In that way, you can be "blacklisted"--a past employer can say to possible employers, "I wouldn't hire Bob; I found him disrespectful and lazy," since that is an opinion.
But  they can't lie about you to others--doing that is defamation. And falsiying your background is absolutely a crime. Hire a lawyer to help you--if a police officer is involved, you are going about against the authorities, because you can assume that the officer's department will be reluctant to admit/believe their officer falsified records. Your lawyer should, based on what you write, file a lawsuit vs the officer and department to both seek compensation and get the records corrected. If there is any evidence the church caused the officer to do this, they can be sued too--the church and the individuals involved. And if they did lie about you to others (e.g. they said "John Doe stole from the church," when that wasn't true--that would be a false factual statement, which can be defamation), they can be sued for defamation, too.


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