If a previous employer is providing false or incomplete information about my former occupation, can anything be done?

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If a previous employer is providing false or incomplete information about my former occupation, can anything be done?

I reviously worked for a company 1 1/2 years. I recently ended employment and applied for employment eksewhere. My prospective enployer then called me informing me that I had gotten the job and all that was left was background check.. However, I recieved an e-mail stating that I had been rejected. I obtained a copy of the background check and found that my former employer had left aspects of my employment out, such as occupation, which apparently read “no data” as I found by calling the background check company. This 100% caused me to not get this job and I am now unemployed. Can I do anything?

Asked on May 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho

Answers:

Archibald J Thomas / Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. - Employee Rights Lawyers

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, an employer is under no legal obligation to provide complete information regrding your former employment.  However, if the informatioin provided is false, a defamation claim may be possible.  If the employer typically provides the information for others and not for you, there may be some other possible claims that could be examined, depending on the motive for treating you different.  Usually, if you have a problem with information provided by a former employer, it is best to try to resolve the issue with the former employer first before taking further action. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your former company lied about you--that is, make an untrue factual statement about you which damaged your reputation--you might be able to sue them for defamation. But from what you write, they did not lie; they merely failed to fully complete the background check form or documentation. However, since your former employer was under no legal obligation to assist in a background check at all--an former employer is not required by law to participate in a background check--there is no legal liability for them for not completing the check or forms fully. A failure to do or complete something which someone is not required to do in the first place does not result in liability.


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