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Author Topic: Rise to your level of incompetence!
Troubadour
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Don't you wish that there was nothing unprofessional about telling the truth about your current employers in job interviews? Don't you wish that you didn't have to make up 'positive' reasons for moving on?

So, while I feel I can't openly divulge my own true feelings quite at this point, what would you say in a job interview about your current employers if you were being really truthful?

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cheiros do ender
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Mine are actually really cool.
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Troubadour
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Yeah yeah yeah, brown-noser. I bet they read this forum. [Wink]

I wanna hear tales of woe, not this touchy-feely stuff....

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cheiros do ender
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[Roll Eyes]
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katharina
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Hmm...that there are a lot of people who get paid to do nothing.

However, as that number has occasionally included me, I am not complaining too hard.

Other than that, I love my current place. You can ask me again next week. [Smile]

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enochville
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The thread title reminded me of the Peter principle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

Basically, a great mechanic will get promoted to a supervisor. If he is good at it he will get promoted to a manager, etc. But, if he stinks as a supervisor, the company will leave him there. So, you rise to the level of your incompetence.

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vonk
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If I could tell potential employers about my current employer I would tell them that my boss is childish and petty; that he blames me for his mistakes and then proceeds to tell every executive in the hotel that will listen about the mistake that I (he) made; that because of him I have absolutely no chance at ever getting a promotion and now have to start again at the bottom rung of another hotel; that he constantly changes his mind about how he wants his reports presented and then yells at me for not remembering (aka reading his mind); that he is a two faced liar who you can rest assured talks serious trash about you if he ever says anything nice; that he's a racist, constantly mocking the accents of minorities, but no one calls him on it because he's gay, so that must mean that he can't be prejudiced.

Ok, I could go on an on, but I guess I'll stop. I suppose it would be bad form to tell interviewers that this is why I am looking for a new position. I will just have to tell them that I am going to start school again and need a position that pays more and has an opportunity for advancement. Not a total lie, but definitely leaving out a hefty chunk of the truth.

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erosomniac
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What on earth stops you from telling your prospective employer exactly what's wrong with your current one? Given that most prospective employers will contact your current/last employers, they're going to get the straight poop on exactly what is causing you to leave anyway. Why tell such an easily checkable lie?

I've always been honest regarding my reasons for leaving. I wasn't RUDE about it, but straightforward and honest. It's conceivable it's caused problems, but I've never had a problem getting a job. I think the key is demonstrating exactly what the problem was and why it was unresolvable. After all, if it's a legitimate problem, one of four things will happen:

1) Your potential employer is unlike your past employer and the problem will not arise again. Everyone wins.

2) Your potential employer is like your past employer and the problem WILL arise again, and they do not hire you. Everyone wins.

3) Your potential employer has a working philosophy incompatible with yours for whatever reasons and does not hire you. Everyone wins.

4) Your reasons for leaving were crappy anyway, and you shouldn't be surprised that you don't get hired again, as you probably don't deserve the jobs you're applying for. Everyone wins.

Edit: yes, I can count!

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King of Men
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My supervisor does like the sound of his own voice, but he's actually pretty much ok.
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vonk
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hmmm, I don't think "everyone wins" quite applies on the last 3.

And as for my boss (I can't speak for anyone else's), I already mentioned how he flat out lies to make himself look good. If a potential employer asked him about my real reasons for quiting, I don't think it would cast a favorable light on me. He'd continue his train of lying and keep me from getting hired.

So, I think I'm gonna stick with almost truths. They can be easily verified as true, and won't bring up any drama with the old boss that could be detrimental to a new job.

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Stephan
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The important thing is to not come off like you are whining.

Vonk, I know a great Hampton Inn/Hilton local franchiser if you ever want to move to Maryland.

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erosomniac
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quote:
hmmm, I don't think "everyone wins" quite applies on the last 3.
Read them again.

quote:

And as for my boss (I can't speak for anyone else's), I already mentioned how he flat out lies to make himself look good. If a potential employer asked him about my real reasons for quiting, I don't think it would cast a favorable light on me. He'd continue his train of lying and keep me from getting hired.

Given that most employers call anyway, how is there a difference? Either:

1) You told the truth in your interview and they call your boss and he had a different story to tell, making you either a) a liar or more likely b) someone who obviously had a disagreement with his supervisor.

2) You lie in your interview and they call your boss and he has a different story to tell, making you a liar, period.

I'm not seeing how 2 is better.

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FlyingCow
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You could always say something along the lines of having "personality conflicts" or "needing a change of environment" or "differing vision about your future role in the hotel" - that's sort of interview code for "my last boss was a jerk and I needed to leave".
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erosomniac
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quote:
You could always say something along the lines of having "personality conflicts" or "needing a change of environment" or "differing vision about your future role in the hotel" - that's sort of interview code for "my last boss was a jerk and I needed to leave".
Exactly. Both polite and truthful.
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jeniwren
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I think there are cases where telling the slightly varnished truth is the right way to interview. Like if you were fired or quit because your previous employer was doing something illegal and you turned them in. If the place you're interviewing at doesn't like that about you and wouldn't hire you because of it, I think you really don't want to work there either.

I like to think job interviews are not just about seeing if you're right for the job, but also about seeing if the job is right for you. I once turned down a job offer because it became clear during the interview that the company had serious politics going on among their senior staff. As I would have been working one level under that, I figured that wouldn't bode well for someone who doesn't play those kind of games well.

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vonk
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
You could always say something along the lines of having "personality conflicts" or "needing a change of environment" or "differing vision about your future role in the hotel" - that's sort of interview code for "my last boss was a jerk and I needed to leave".

Thats good, I like it. I think I'll use those lines in any upcoming interviews.

I don't think my current boss would bring up anything negative if the person calling didn't mention it first. He's not really malitious unless he's in danger of getting caught at something.

So yeah, I wouldn't go into any details at all, just use some clever phrasology to get the point across without bringing up anything specific.

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Tante Shvester
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I interview applicants all the time. It sends up a red flag for me if the applicant tells me that he didn't get along with his supervisor or co-workers. The red flag grows in size and waviness if he also tells me the gruesome details of "what really goes on in that place".

I'm guessing that this is the kind of person who won't get along here as well, and will be spreading all kinds of uncomplimentary horror stories about me.

If they tell me politely that they had a difference of philosophy with their boss, or that they didn't have the flexibility of scheduling that they needed, or that they were looking for better pay, I'd be more inclined to hire them than if they tell me that the boss forced them to do illegal things and take the blame for it, always stuck them on night shift and let the prime shifts go to to few favorites, or that they treat them like a slave and don't get the pay that is coming to them.

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El JT de Spang
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I love the Peter principle.
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zgator
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quote:
Given that most prospective employers will contact your current/last employers, they're going to get the straight poop on exactly what is causing you to leave anyway.
Just about every company I'm aware of will say nothing except "Yes, Mr. X worked for our company between this date and that date." Telling a potential employer exactly why Mr. X is your ex-employee is a good way to get your company in a lawsuit.
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Kwea
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Yep, unless you are trying to rise in the same company, then they can (and do) ask anything they want to. [Big Grin]
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vonk
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So we're saying that the best idea is to stick to the "looking for opportunities for advancement" and "looking for higher wages to pay for education" rather than go with the "we didn't get along" glossing over?

quote:
Just about every company I'm aware of will say nothing except "Yes, Mr. X worked for our company between this date and that date." Telling a potential employer exactly why Mr. X is your ex-employee is a good way to get your company in a lawsuit.
Yeah, I was always under the impression that the person calling a reference would only verify what is on the resume/application. Is that right?
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Zeugma
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quote:
Given that most prospective employers will contact your current/last employers, they're going to get the straight poop on exactly what is causing you to leave anyway.
I agree with zgator and vonk, everything I've heard has said that, unless the previous employer is colossally stupid, they won't say anything that will make you want to hit them with a lawsuit for libel or whatever it is you can sue someone for over this. It's always a good idea to take the high road in an interview. Everyone in the room knows that you're on your best behavior for the interview, and if your best behavior means whining and griping about others, who wants to see your worst?! [Smile]
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erosomniac
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quote:
I interview applicants all the time. It sends up a red flag for me if the applicant tells me that he didn't get along with his supervisor or co-workers. The red flag grows in size and waviness if he also tells me the gruesome details of "what really goes on in that place".

I'm guessing that this is the kind of person who won't get along here as well, and will be spreading all kinds of uncomplimentary horror stories about me.

If they tell me politely that they had a difference of philosophy with their boss, or that they didn't have the flexibility of scheduling that they needed, or that they were looking for better pay, I'd be more inclined to hire them than if they tell me that the boss forced them to do illegal things and take the blame for it, always stuck them on night shift and let the prime shifts go to to few favorites, or that they treat them like a slave and don't get the pay that is coming to them.

Maybe I should have been clearer: I think it's very necessary to be honest regarding your reasons for leaving your last job in a polite, reasonable fashion. There's a distinct difference between glossing the truth and flat out lying about your reasons for leaving.

Basically, if you're actually stupid enough to write "I hated my boss, we didn't get along, he was basically a huge overbearing moron who micromanaged too much and made my life miserable" on your resume (or say the equivilant in an interview), you're likely unqualified for the job you're applying for.

quote:
Just about every company I'm aware of will say nothing except "Yes, Mr. X worked for our company between this date and that date." Telling a potential employer exactly why Mr. X is your ex-employee is a good way to get your company in a lawsuit.
Just about every company I've worked with will explain exactly why the employee left / was terminated if asked. While my knowledge regarding the legal aspects of prospective employers contacting former employers is admittedly lacking, I'm having trouble imagining a lawsuit from an ex-employee being successful.

Edit to add:

quote:
Yeah, I was always under the impression that the person calling a reference would only verify what is on the resume/application. Is that right?
Very, very selectively true in my experience.
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Kwea
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They usually are, because it is defamation of charcter unless they can PROVVE every single thing they say. If any of it is opinion they can get into trouble, and even if they win in court it costs a fortune.
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vonk
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At el local community college I took a gov't class and the prof told us a little story when we were going over libel/slander.

Apparently a teacher at the elemetary school that she worked for got fired for looking at porn on a school computer. When firing, the principal told the teacher that he should have never hired him, because the last school that the teacher worked at said something like that had happened.

So the teacher got fired and sued the original school he worked at for slander (or libel, which is which again?) and won (I don't know how much money). From this we learned that a former employee can sue his former employers for talking smack about them, even if said smack is true.

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erosomniac
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quote:
They usually are, because it is defamation of charcter unless they can PROVVE every single thing they say. If any of it is opinion they can get into trouble, and even if they win in court it costs a fortune.
I'm having trouble imagining:

1) How the plaintiff would prove these things were said, and

2) How it would be difficult for an ex-employer to prove their statements are true (assuming, of course, they ARE true). Any standard gripe would be very easy to furnish proof for.

Edit to add: This is also assuming the prospective employee even knows why he didn't get the job. 99% of the time, he won't even receive a notification; he'll just never hear back from the company. Even if he calls, a "sorry, the position was filled" is a sufficient answer. To my knowledge, prospective employers are not required by law to inform an employee regarding WHY they are not hiring him. Even if they are required by law, I don't imagine a company would be silly enough to say anything other than "the position went to a candidate that was better qualified."

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zgator
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Florida is a rihgt-to-work state, so you don't have to have proof to fire someone. If you believe your employee is lazy, you can fire them. You don't have to have records documenting that fact.

If you tell a potential employer that, it's your opinion and you can be sued for saying that if it prevents your ex-employee from getting another job.

As far as proving they were said, I would assume the plaintiff can call in the potential employer as a witness.

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MandyM
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quote:
Just about every company I've worked with will explain exactly why the employee left / was terminated if asked. While my knowledge regarding the legal aspects of prospective employers contacting former employers is admittedly lacking, I'm having trouble imagining a lawsuit from an ex-employee being successful.
My boss won't know the real reason I am leaving.

I would be quit my job this year if the money in other school districts was anywhere close to what I am making now. Teachers get paid peanuts as it is and I can't afford a cut in pay right now.

He is an idiot. I am not going to quit and tell him that on the way out the door. In education, going off on someone like that does get around and it could keep you from getting a job anytime in the future.

Case in point: Several years ago I had been hired by a principal and he called me a few weeks after I was hired and asked for a reference on a teacher I worked with. He said he had gotten a glossed over recommendation from the principal we worked for at the time and he wanted the real deal. I told him I was uncomfortable with telling him this but that I felt he had plenty of time to keep interviewing and that would be my advice. I certainly didn't want to badmouth anyone but she really was not a good choice for the position he was hiring for (or possibly any position) and I would lose credibility if I had given a good reference and she sucked after he took my word for it. After that she told me she had interviewed there and asked me to put in a good word for her. She didn't get the job. I still feel like a heel about it.

So here is what I would say if I could tell the real reason why I want to leave. My 7th grade students could run the school better than he is right now and they know it! He is out of his element at this grade level and refuses to seek help. He walks around with blinders on and does not see the problems at our school even when they are pointed out to him. He does not trust his teachers and is completely unsupportive of us. He has asked us to break the rules of special ed paperwork and mandatory testing. He is lousy at discipline and is afraid of parents. But he is returning next year instead of transferring to an open position at the grade level he came from because he thinks the year is going great and he can't wait to do it all again next year! He was overheard telling his wife on the phone that we (the teachers) all think he is a hero. I am not sure what planet he is on, but it is not Earth. I wish he would share whatever he is smoking because there is not one teacher in the entire school who is supportive of him. I know you can't make everyone happy but this guy is not making ANYONE happy. It is a miserable place to be this year. But on the up side, I love my kids and my co-workers and I have decided that the best thing for me to do is go back to school so I can be the boss. My friend is sad she says because I will have to undergo a lobotomy in order to accept a position in administration.

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opiejudy
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My boss is great she make me work long hard hours, but lets me off to watch AMC and OLTL for two hours everyday. This morning she let me finish reading Lost Boys and didnt care that I came into work all red rimmed and obsessed with making OSC's words change, but then when I knocked off early cause the baby was sick she made me come back and finish printing invoices anyway.. the nerve. So now here I am printing invoices with a baby screaming at my knee and writing on the forum. Will her insane need to keep me working and working drive me to the brink?


lol...im self employed. but we can still be hard on ourselves!

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human_2.0
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I remember calling a reference. They were postive about the potential employee. We hired him.

He was a complete idiot who said things like "if you don't like your computer, you can break it by ... and the manufactuer can't even tell you ruined it so they think it is their fault" and "only 4 more months here and my probation is over and then I can do what I want" (I work at a university where they have a 6 month probation period where you can be fired w/o reason and after it is harder to fire someone) .

We fired him long before probation, but we waited long enough that my boss had to prove to his bosses that the guy lied in the interview (we wrote down his answers so we had proof).

He listed us as a reference and my boss got a call. I don't think he was too kind. I don't know if he could exactly be sued for libel or slander as I don't think he said anything specific. Just that he was fired because he turned out not to be qualified for our position and wasn't honest in his interview about his qualifications.

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opiejudy
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the law states that only dates of employment can be given when checking references hope your boss doesnt get sued
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erosomniac
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quote:
the law states that only dates of employment can be given when checking references hope your boss doesnt get sued
I'd like to see references for that. I don't believe it.
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vonk
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Heh heh, I just called the US Department of Labor. I didn't know I could do that.

They said that what can and can not be asked when contacting references varies by state, and to check your state's employment law and invasion of privacy law. she gave me this website to search through: www.dol.gov/dol/location.htm

I'm still drudging through it to find out about texas.

Edit: This USA Today article talks about the legal repercussions of giving negative references, but doesn't reference any outside sources.

This article says,
quote:
Legally, they can't defame, retaliate, invade your privacy or maliciously interfere with your ability to find a new job.
So, from what I have found so far, a former employer can do more than verify the dates of employment, but you can sue them if they say anything to interfere with you getting a job.

[ May 19, 2006, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: vonk ]

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erosomniac
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From the same article vonk quoted:

quote:
Smith hired a reference checker and found out exactly what his former employer was saying. "Not a team player. Not outgoing." Nothing that would trigger a lawsuit, but important information, just the same. Smith would definitely recommend using a reference checker.
quote:
Let's take a closer look at 'Drimming'. To defame is to give false information to a potential employer. Retaliation comes into play if you were a whistle-blower, or if you asserted your rights under the discrimination laws. Your employer may retaliate against your actions and that's illegal. Invasion of privacy can include disclosing medical information, or personal history. Perhaps the hardest to prove is malicious interference in your ability to get a new job.

All of these are illegal and are grounds for a law suit which can lead to big money for you. Shilepsky says, "Depending on how badly someone's career reputation has been harmed, we're talking hundreds of thousands if not millions."

Emphasis mine.

Next from the USA Today article:

quote:
In some states, employers can even be held liable for silence if an insinuation of a former employee's wrongdoing may be drawn from that silence.
What the flying ....? I hate our legal system.

quote:
An employer can also be liable for claims of invasion of privacy for providing information regarding a former employee's sexual practices or medical condition if they are irrelevant to the job.
That makes sense.

quote:
It is in this complicated web of legal liability that so many employers have adopted a policy of simply not providing references for their former employees. Such a policy may protect employers from liability, but it denies both prospective employers and former employees the benefits of a good faith employment reference.
I feel like the people writing this article are living in a completely different universe than I am. I've never seen or heard of a case where someone sued a former employer for this kind of defamation, although I can see the suit being valid if it was, in fact, defamation. More to the point, I've never encountered a business that flat out refuses to provide employees with references.

The reports here are as conflicting as the ones in this thread. How can a former employer get away with saying things like "not a team player. Not outgoing" about a former employee - things that are distinctly opinion - but can be held liable for other opinions, even if they appear to be directly relevant to someone's ability to perform a job?

Here's the simple solution:

quote:
An employee who wishes an employer to provide an employment reference should offer to sign a form waiving liability. An employer who is asked to provide a reference may want to initially stick to a no-reference policy unless the employee agrees to waive liability for the release of employment information.
Ultimately, I don't really trust or believe either article. I think I'm going to start digging through law books. If someone else has the information readily available and can reference it for me, please feel free.
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andi330
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quote:
Originally posted by erosomniac:
I feel like the people writing this article are living in a completely different universe than I am. I've never seen or heard of a case where someone sued a former employer for this kind of defamation, although I can see the suit being valid if it was, in fact, defamation. More to the point, I've never encountered a business that flat out refuses to provide employees with references.

The reports here are as conflicting as the ones in this thread. How can a former employer get away with saying things like "not a team player. Not outgoing" about a former employee - things that are distinctly opinion - but can be held liable for other opinions, even if they appear to be directly relevant to someone's ability to perform a job?

Here's the simple solution:

quote:
An employee who wishes an employer to provide an employment reference should offer to sign a form waiving liability. An employer who is asked to provide a reference may want to initially stick to a no-reference policy unless the employee agrees to waive liability for the release of employment information.
Ultimately, I don't really trust or believe either article. I think I'm going to start digging through law books. If someone else has the information readily available and can reference it for me, please feel free.
Mine won't. They'll confirm that you worked there and for how long and that's it. Not only that but if you need proof of employment for apartment or mortgage companies, the person inquiring has to pay a third party company to get the information.
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scholar
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Where my mom was working, a woman was fired for stealing (security tapes verified). When someone called to ask about her, my mom was told by the higher ups that for legal reasons all she could say was when this woman worked. If she said that the woman was fired for stealing, it could cause a lawsuit- even though they had videotape of the woman committing the crime.
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