What can a former employer tell a possible new employer about an employee?

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What can a former employer tell a possible new employer about an employee?

I was recently terminated from my job. Things were listed on my termination paper that I am not guilty of. I have asked for a meeting with the man who runs the company since the day I was let go.I was told for a week or so that he was out of town. Then last Friday he called me and we set up a meeting for Monday and then early Monday morning he sent a text saying he couldn’t meet with me. I have applied for several jobs and the employers have seemed interested in hiring me and then they don’t. I am thinking my former supervisor is telling them something to keep me from getting a new job. Also, I have asked for a copy of my personnel file but they refuse to give it to me.

Asked on August 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First off, your personnel file is the property of your former employer and, in WV, a worker does not have a right to access it at least without permission unless allowed to do so under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. As regarding references, if you apply for a job and your previous employer is contacted for a reference, they cannot knowingly give false information about your work performance in an attempt to prevent you from obtaining new job. However, your ex-employer is not limited to the disclosure of basic information (e.g. confirming that you actually were employed there and the dates of your employment, etc.). There is no action against a former employer for giving negative but truthful information to a prospective employer. So for example, it is perfectly permissable for a previous employer to provide subjective assessments of work performance such as “X was unreliable”. That having been said, it is actionable if an ex-employers makes remarks that are knowingly false. Here is a link to a site tht will explain further: https://employment-law.freeadvice.com/employment-law/hiring/employer_references.htm

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First off, your personnel file is the property of your former employer and, in WV, a worker does not have a right to access it at least without permission unless allowed to do so under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. As regarding references, if you apply for a job and your previous employer is contacted for a reference, they cannot knowingly give false information about your work performance in an attempt to prevent you from obtaining new job. However, your ex-employer is not limited to the disclosure of basic information (e.g. confirming that you actually were employed there and the dates of your employment, etc.). There is no action against a former employer for giving negative but truthful information to a prospective employer. So for example, it is perfectly permissable for a previous employer to provide subjective assessments of work performance such as “X was unreliable”. That having been said, it is actionable if an ex-employers makes remarks that are knowingly false. Here is a link to a site tht will explain further: https://employment-law.freeadvice.com/employment-law/hiring/employer_references.htm


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