Can an employer refuse to verify the employment of an employee?

UPDATED: Jul 29, 2011

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Can an employer refuse to verify the employment of an employee?

My employer refuses to verify the employment of any of it’s employees. Several of us have lost opportunities because of this policy. Is it legal?

Asked on July 29, 2011 North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, it is completely legal. An employer is under no obligation whatsover to verify an employee's employment (or, for that matter, to provide a recommendation or reference). While it's not the norm to not verify, it's not all that uncommon either--saying anything to a third party could potentially give rise to liability, if the employee either does something wrong (and the employer is blamed on the grounds that what it said caused the new party to give the employee the opportunity), or if what the employer verifies is not what the employee claimed his or her employment was (in which case, the employee may try to sue for defamation). While these problems don't happen that often, the only way to be 100% safe is to not say anything at all.

If all you need to do is verify the fact of employment (and possibly your salary), try using pay stubs to prove 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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