If you have been unfortunate enough to have a former employer give you a bad reference, you know how frustrating and demoralizing it can be. It can seem like there is nothing you can do to combat the lies your former boss is spreading about you.
Fortunately, that is not always the case. You can take steps to dispute a bad reference and hopefully clear your name.
What can your former employer legally disclose?
When an employer is asked for a job reference, the information they share needs to be factual and relate to the job performance of their former employee. They are not allowed to make any statements that could be considered libelous or slanderous. Additionally, the employer should refrain from sharing any opinions not based on factual information.
A former employer can disclose the employee was constantly late, failed to meet deadlines, had a bad attitude or continuously argued with co-workers.
What if you were a good employee and your prior employer still bad-mouths you?
Sometimes a bad reference is due to a personal grudge. But there are steps you can take to fight back. You can try to talk to your former employer to see why they’re giving you a bad reference and try to come to a better understanding. If you cannot make any headway with the employer or the HR department through direct conversation, you may want to consider sending a cease-and-desist letter.
If that fails, you may have to file a defamation lawsuit. For future job searches, it’s imperative that you clear your name and protect your reputation. Experienced legal guidance can help with all kinds of employment issues.