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Is blacklisting unlawful in Florida?

Nearly any business owner deals with some employees they would never want to work with again, and they might not wish them on their worst competitors, either. However, Florida business owners should understand that while it is permissible to fire an employee for an acceptable reason, such as being combative with co-workers or consistently being late, there are rules surrounding blacklisting that could land a company in legal hot water if they were found to engage in this practice.

What exactly is blacklisting? The Houston Chronicle explains it as business owners or hiring managers trying to prevent someone from working elsewhere after they left employment or applied for a job. This could be done for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • An employer wanting to “get back” at an employee for quitting
  • An applicant missing a job interview or lying on a resume
  • An employer wanting to prevent others from having to work with someone who is incompetent or poorly behaved

Some employers may have reasons they think are good for warning others not to work with a particular person. The Florida Senate, however, warns employers that it is a misdemeanor in the state to prevent or attempt to prevent someone, whether a former employee or job applicant, from obtaining employment, regardless of the reason.

Business owners, hiring managers and others who oversee employees should be careful when hiring or firing a person to reduce the likelihood of lawsuits. This is especially true when it comes to a gray or vague area, such as sharing a blacklist of people who are considered unsuitable for hiring.

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