What if My Former Employer Says Bad Things About Me?

posted by Scott Behren  |  Jun 4, 2010 8:16 PM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

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On many occasions employees ask whether or not they have a legal claim against their former employer or employers for giving bad references or saying bad things about them. The answer is you might have a claim if the information furnished by the employer was false. Under most state laws there could be a claim for defamation or slander. Your state may have its own employer reference statute. So research the applicable laws in your state. However, in Florida there is a statute that protects employers from giving references. It is contained at Florida Statutes 768.095. It provides as follows:

768.095 Employer immunity from liability; disclosure of information regarding former or current employees.--An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under chapter 760.

Due to this statute, it makes it more difficult in Florida to bring a claim for bad references against an employer unless you can show that the information provided by the former employer was knowingly false.

In any state, I would first go to one of the companies out there that calls to check on references given by former employers. Then you will have a witness and/or written statement of what was said by your former employer. That will make your claims against your former employer much easier.

One of the companies you can check out is www.badreferences.com. They will call your former employer, prepare a written report and even testify as a witness in court if necessary.

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