Is it legal for an old employer to send incorrect information to a current employer. Such as incorrect hire date and title?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for an old employer to send incorrect information to a current employer. Such as incorrect hire date and title?

I needed a background check for my current employer. I was contacted by my
current employer and told I needed to get proof of employed dates and a job
title. I asked for a copy to be sent to me and it has the incorrect dates of
employment and the wrong job title. Can HR send incorrect information?

Asked on January 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, while they do not need to send anything--there is no law requiring a former employer to verify employment or assist in background checks--if they do send something or reply, it must be factually correct. If it is not correct and it damages your reputation or interferes with you getting a job, then if the error is willful (intentional; and not correcting it after being told of the mistake may be willful), it may constitute defamation and/or tortious (i.e. wrongful) interference with economic advantage. It is not the initial, presumably innocent mistake that is potentially liable, but the willful refusal to fix that error. So if they are going to send out a reply, they must be accurate; and if the initially err, they must then fix it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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