Legal Risks of Employment References
Virtually every employer in the country requests at least one reference from job applicants. Some companies allow references from friends or co-workers, but many require at least one reference from a previous employer. Unfortunately, business owners find themselves in a risky situation when writing letters or giving over-the-phone descriptions about former employees.
Legal polices concerning employment references can be complicated, and there is a lot of contradictory advice out there. If you have any questions about your rights and liabilities as a worker or employee, the experienced Austin employment lawyers of The Melton Law Firm can help. Call us at 512-330-0017.
References and Employer Liability
Employers walk a fine line while giving job references. If they are not careful about the information they disclose, they could be facing lawsuits alleging:
- Defamation: This occurs when a person’s reputation is damaged by a false verbal or written statement. In the past, people have successfully sued former employers for defamation when negative references left them unable to find new jobs. As a result, it is very important for people giving references to avoid subjective language or unverifiable statements.
- Invasion of privacy: Job applicants have the right to protect their personal information. People giving references can find themselves in legal trouble if they disclose information about former employees’ medical records, ages, religions, or other protected traits.
Many employers try to avoid these pitfalls by limiting themselves to very basic information like dates of employment and salaries. Unfortunately, even this is not always enough to avoid litigation. Before writing or requesting an employment reference, you may want to discuss the issue with an experienced Austin business reference attorney.
The Austin employment attorneys of The Melton Law Firm can help you protect your rights and avoid unnecessary litigation. Contact us today at 512-330-0017 to discuss what we can do for you.