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Employment Reference Check Laws

Reference checks are a common resource for companies who are screening applicants for a job. When performing an employment reference check, a hiring manager will contact the applicant’s previous employers that are listed on the application. A reference check can improve an applicant’s chance of receiving a job offer or potentially harm their chance of employment. When an applicant is passed up for a job because of a poor reference check, it can lead to disgruntlement and raise questions about reference check policy and reference check laws. To learn more about reference checks and reference check laws, many people ask Employment Experts. The Experts answer a wide variety of questions regarding reference checks. Below are five of the top questions answered by the Experts.

Is a person entitled to the information from a poor reference check?

Usually, you would not be entitled to any information regarding a reference check. There are no laws that require an employer or the person who gives the reference to tell you anything. You can however ask either parties to discuss the reference check but they don’t have to tell you anything. There are now agencies and private investigators that will perform phony reference checks for you. This may be the only way to find out what your past employers are saying about you. Reference check laws differ by state. There are some states that do not allow negative reference checks and are mandated to only state the date of employment, date of termination, as well as rate of pay. You may need to as an Expert to find out what your individual state law requires.

If an employer withholds certain information about a past employee during two reference checks but reveals the information on the third check, is the employer liable to the employee if the employee loses their current job?

Usually, an employer would not be liable for offering limited reference checks as a general rule and then offer more information than they would normally divulge. However, if you had a contract with the employer stating the employer was limited in what information that could be given during a reference check; you may have cause for action if the employer exceeds it. You would also have recourse if you could prove that the employer offered information based on your age, sex, religion, or disability. If the employer was retaliating against you for trying to collect unemployment benefits or worker’s compensation this could also show cause. However, an employer can discuss any truthful information during the course of a reference check. If the employer didn’t divulge the information during the first two reference checks, but later disclosed it wouldn’t typically mean that the employer is liable to the employee.

If a past employer gives a poor reference, is there any way to avoid using that employer?

If you think that the employer isn’t giving you a decent reference, you may want to consider not using the employer. You can request that your new hire use prior references and that they only inquire about your employment at the company, start/end date, and position in the company. If your new hire doesn’t speak with the former employer, he/she wouldn’t be able to give a poor reference.

If a former supervisor contacts an employee’s new employer and gives that employee a bad reference, how can the employee stop the former supervisor?

Usually, an employer wouldn’t go to this extreme. Aside from being unprofessional, the supervisor may be in violation of your right to privacy. You should write a formal letter of complaint to the head of the company that the supervisor works for. You should include any information regarding the conduct of the supervisor with your new employer. Make sure to include everything that was said during the phone calls and the date each call was made. Generally, a company will reprimand any employer or supervisor who conducts themselves in such a manner. You may consider speaking with a local personal injury attorney who handles non-physical injury torts and discuss the situation. Even if you don’t want to take legal action, the attorney could write a letter of” Cease and desist” informing the employer that if the conduct continues, you will take legal action.

If a person fails to list independent contract work on their work history, is it possible for the company to find out during a background check and reference check?

Usually, when a company performs a background check, they look at your criminal history and sometimes your credit score. Companies generally do not look into someone’s tax records during a background check. However, the company may find out about the independent contract work while performing the reference check. If you think this would be possible, you may want to tell the company about any work that you failed to include on your application.

Reference checks are a common practice during an employment screening. Usually, a reference check will consist of a few questions involving the applicants work history. However, there are times that a former employer may cross the line of proper reference etiquette and cause damage to a potential employee by giving a less than bright referral. If you are in a situation that requires legal insight, you can ask an Employment Lawyer. The Experts answer a wide range of employment law questions and can offer solutions to your individual situation in a fast and knowledgeable manner.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8091
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
characters left:
6 Employment Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Employment Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7759
JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9785
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

Recent Reference Check Questions

  • My husband and I run a small counseling center. We have 1

    My husband and I run a small counseling center. We have 1 employee who is paid at an hourly rate of pay. She works 5 hourss per day which includes a paid 1/2 hour lunch break.
    Recently she came in 1 hour late and worked 11 am - 3:30 PM (4-1/2 hours) and says she worked thru her lunch break to make up the time she missed in the morning so she could get paid for her full 5 hours that day.
    The issue is that we are already paying her for her lunch break so our thoughts are that she has already been paid for that time and we don't want to pay her for the time twice!
    Afterall, we feel she can do what she likes with her break - eat, go out, or whatever else. We consider it a "benefit" that we pay her for that time.
    What does the law say about this situation? I appreciate your answer so we can get past this issue in our very small office.
  • Hi My is Nathalie, I 've been working as a Independent Contractor

    Hi My is Nathalie,
    I 've been working as a Independent Contractor driver for a Pharmaceutical company for 8 years. My average earnings for this company is $200.00 to $250.00 a day. I'm paid every two weeks. The company is in the process of turning their drivers over to another company. I will also remain as a independent contractor with them. This new company haven't giving me the opportunity to renegotiate my contract with them, instead their giving me their quote which is $75.00 a day plus extra deduction to be subtracted per pay period. Their telling me that the company I'm presently with have agreed to this amount. The company I'm with said I was setting this meeting to negotiate my new contract with this new company. I'm currently a resident of Louisiana. I do know every state have different laws. Can you tell me my rights as a independent contractor in Louisiana? I'm feeling like I'm being railroaded by both companies.
  • I am a firefighter . We passed a contract that requires us to submit to annual medical eva

    I am a firefighter . We passed a contract that requires us to submit to annual medical evaluation through the city dr and or go to my dr and give them all the results ie: my blood work results. I feel that this is a violation of my rights. I believe that no contract can do that ours even says that if any part is found to be unconstitutional it can be removed with out throwing out the whole contract . The city was also wanting us to be required to sign a Hipparchus release allowing the city dr to talk with and request anything anytime. That was with drawn the above was agreed to. Does my employer have a right to my blood test results.
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