Can Your Former Employer Give You A Bad Reference?

Can Your Former Employer Give You A Bad Reference?

Can Your Former Employer Give You A Bad Reference? The answer is yes!

Did you punch your last manager? You bet they are going to disclose that to your new employer.

Background verification and reference check is a standard procedure for employers before onboarding a new employee. If you are on the lookout for a new job and wondering if your former employer is going to badmouth you, he can. 

Although there isn’t a federal law prohibiting employers from sharing the amount of information with your potential employer, most employers choose to be cautious with what they say in response to a reference check.

While Large corporations have a defined HR policy, smaller organizations can share much more information than expected. 

When an employer receives a reference check request from another employer they are supposed to share basic information like designation, salary, job responsibilities, etc.

However, if asked, a few can also choose to reveal information like professional behavior, the reason for resignation or termination, performance records, etc. 

If you left your last job on a bad note, beware your employer can always jeopardize your chances of getting a new job. And you won’t be able to do anything about it. 

Employers are cautious

With the rise of defamation cases, employers have started taking extra precautions when it comes to sharing the employment records of a former employee. Most companies have a defined guideline for reference checks. They restrict their supervisors, team leaders, or managers from responding to reference checks. All such requests must be routed to HR only. 

Federal law allows employers to share factual information only, anything false or misleading can attract a lawsuit against the organization.

Do not assume that they will not give you a bad reference

Yes, it’s true. We all know at least one employer who will not mind ruining a career.

A job gives us a lot of things, including good and bad memories. Some jobs are not for us. Either you made a mistake or there was something wrong at the workplace. 

I always advise job seekers to not end their relations with the employer on a bad note. If you have decided to move to a better position or company, you better talk to your current employer and inform him of your decision in advance. You must give him enough time to hire a replacement in time. 

But if you have left an organization on not-so-good terms, it’s better to leave that organization out of your references. And if you must mention that organization, it’s better to speak to the employer in advance and inform him of the potential reference check. 

How to prevent an employer from giving a bad reference? 

What to do if your employer is giving you bad references, what are your options? We try to put everything behind and start fresh. But what if the employer is not ready to forget it and move on.

Set things straight

It’s always better to have a one on one conversation and sort things out. Say sorry, if it was your mistake. Listen to their side of the story and try to make amends. 

If you have had a bad experience with the employer and had to part ways on a bad note, it’s always better to check with your last employer to see what they will say in their recommendation. They will tell you upfront if they do not want to be included in the reference list. Some might not respond to your call or email, in that case, check with a former colleague to find out what they say in their references.

Ask them to stop

If you find that your last employer is giving bad references for no reason, it’s time to ask them to stop. It’s not always the company that is giving you a bad name. It can be your ex-manager who is doing the damage. Do not simply barge in and start arguing with your ex-manager, instead a strongly worded letter of cease and desist addressed to the HR or CEO will do the job. 

Include the name of the personnel, complaint, tell them how negative references are hurting your job prospects. Inform them of legal consequences if they do not stop. 

Do not include them in your references

If you believe that the company is going to give a negative recommendation, it’s better to not include them in your reference list. 

Send them a legal notice

If you believe that the employer has crossed the boundaries and is sharing false & misleading references to your potential employers, it’s time to seek help from legal counsel. Send your former employer a legal notice of defamation for ruining your chances of finding a new job and reputation.