Can I sue my ex-manager for giving me a bad reference?

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Can I sue my ex-manager for giving me a bad reference?

I’m looking for a new job because my present company is getting low on works.I had this solid interview from a company and they’ve almost offered me a job. They asked for my Passport and every single details to type of the job offer letter. I went through 3 rounds of interviews. Finally they asked for a reference and I gave my present manager’s number knowling that he’s an evil person. But he promised me to give a honest reference which was supposed to be great.After the hiring company called him; they sent me a note which is nothing but a rejection letter.

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no obligation to provide a reference at all, or a good  reference; the only legal obligation is that if someone provides a reference, it cannot be defamatory. Defamation is the knowing, deliberate, or at least reckless making of untrue statements of fact which damage your reputation. Only untrue factual statements are potentially defamatory: so, for example, claiming you had excessive unauthorized absences when you did not.

However, true facts, even if negative, are not defamation--so, for example, saying that you were absent without persmission, if in fact you were, is not defamation. And opinions are not defamation--so saying you were a bad worker or lazy, which are both statements of opinion, are not defamation.

If you believe that you were defamed, you may have a cause of action, though if you do not know what was said about you, you will not be able prove or establish your case. If you do not have a cause of action for defamation, you most likely have no legal claim, since as noted, there is no obligation or duty to provide a reference at all, or to make a good reference.


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