Securing references can be a vital aspect of changing jobs, and former workers might be concerned their bosses will give unflattering reviews. However, there are some circumstances in which former employers are breaking the law.
- Former bosses cannot give out false information to your future employers, no matter how much they might hate you. In fact, depending on the circumstances, giving false information could be considered defamation of character.
- In most circumstances, former employers are required to stick to comments about job performance, qualifications and eligibility for rehire. Former employers can also discuss your job duration and duties.
- Some employers are afraid of defamation lawsuits and will attempt to say as little as possible, which can also hurt your job search. If relations with former bosses are in good standing, you can sign a release that gives up your right to sue a former employer, allowing them the peace of mind to give a detailed review.
- If you were fired, former bosses can discuss with your future employers the reasons for termination or separation.
When It’s Time to Call an Employment Law Attorney
Let’s use a hypothetical scenario to illustrate when it’s time to call an employment law attorney. Joe recently left his old job performing inside sales for a telecom company. What Joe didn’t know is that his former boss despised him. While out career hunting, Joe’s potential job prospects ask to call his old workplace to verify important information.
Instead of giving his possible job prospects dates of employment or job duties, Joe’s former employer takes this opportunity to go into a false diatribe on how he is the personification of evil and the worst employee in the history of the company. Joe’s former employer has broken the law and defamed his character, costing him potential employment at four separate companies. In this situation, Joe would want to call an attorney to explore options.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob is an employment law firm serving the people of Los Angeles and California.