Is it illegal for a former employer to give me an unsubstantiated bad reference?
While it is not illegal to give a bad reference if the statements are true, you can file a lawsuit if an employer is purposely sabotaging your job search efforts by lying to prospective employers.
References, whether good or bad, have to be truthful. If you were disciplined at your last job, failed to complete projects on time or constantly showed up late, these are statements that an employer can legally provide to a prospective employer.
If, however, you have been a model employee, but your employer told another employer some lies to keep you from getting a job, you may be able to file a legal claim. You will have to prove three elements:
- The information given was untrue.
- This inaccurate information had a negative impact on your job search.
- The employer was negligent in providing another employer with this information.