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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Is it legal for an ex employer to say anything about the ex

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Is it legal for an ex employer to say anything about the ex employee that would cost them future employment? Also, if nothing was said verbally but read in my employee file from my previous job, is it OK for the prospective employer to receive my old file? I thought those were supposed to be confidential. I was offered a job, and after quitting and being replaced by old job, my employment offer was retracted, and when I called to ask what happened, I was told that they could not tell me anything. I was told this after they completed my background check. I have never been arrested or committed a crime, but was told before this happened that they were requesting a file from an ex employer who I worked for 10 years ago. I am now unemployed and need help!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
Is it legal for an ex employer to say anything about the ex employee that would cost them future employment?

A: Labor Code § 1050, provides, "Any person, or agent or officer thereof, who, after having discharged an employee from the service of such person or after an employee has voluntarily left such service, by any misrepresentation prevents or attempts to prevent the former employee from obtaining employment, is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Also, if nothing was said verbally but read in my employee file from my previous job, is it OK for the prospective employer to receive my old file?

A: Only personnel records of public employees are confidential by law. Private employers are not directly prevented from revealing confidential personnel records, except those records that are related to the employee's retirement or health care.benefits. Regardless, Labor Code 1050 would extend to the personnel file, which if it contains a material misrepresentation, would constitute a misdemeanor if it prevented the employee from obtaining future employment.

Note: An employee has the right to inspect his/her personnel file (Labor Code 1198.5). The law has had little interpretation, and it's unknown whether or not it extends to "former employees." Ultimately, if you really believe that the employer committed a fraud, you would have to sue in order to force disclosure, assuming the employer refused to cooperate with your inspection request.

Hope this helps.

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