What can a former employer say about me when a potential new employer calls them because they're listed on my resume?

Asked almost 4 years ago - Quincy, FL

I was terminated because my employer "had to assume it (a broken policy) was me". My former employer says that, if asked, they will tell a potential new employer that I was terminated for violating company policy. They also say they will communicate my good qualities, but I feel like the new employer is sure to ask why I am no longer at that old job. Are they allowed to give me a bad reference? Are they allowed to say I did something wrong if they do not have proof that I did anything wrong? After all, they can only "assume". Are there any statues or laws I can read to educate and protect myself on this? I did excellent work at this job for over a year and was fired over a hunch. I don't know if it's "safe" to list that job on my resume.

Additional information

I would not be listing them as a reference in the reference section on my trdumr. I'd only be listing them as my most recent employer.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Ayuban Antonio Tomas

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Your former employer is allowed to tell the truth, and the truth is you were fired for breaking company policy. Most employers will not elaborate on the specific reasons for risk management purposes. Since your employer already promised to relay your good qualities to your prospective employers, that is really the best you can hope for in this situation. If it concerns you that much, then you may want to NOT list them as a reference.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.

  2. Scott M. Behren

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . If you check out my blog, there is a post where I discuss the Florida statute on when a prior employer may be liable for giving a bad reference. Check it out at www.takethisjobnshoveitblog.com.

  3. Evan Michael Ostfeld

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Generally speaking Employers are wise to give very little information about a past employee so that are not likely to be sued. Typically they give job title, dates of employment and rate of pay. If they however assert things that are not true, you can prove that and it hinders your ability to find employment an action may lie against them for slander and or defamation.
    Best of Luck!

    Evan in FLA (866) I SUE YOU (478-3968)

  4. Jeffrey Michael Donato

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Yes it is true. Your former employer can say what he/she wants to about you, as long as it is true. If something is untrue, and you try to allege that you have been slandered (defamed), then it will be up to you to prove that the statement was untrue, published (held out for the public to hear), and most importantly, damaged you in some way. Usually, lawyers will look for an economic damage of type. If you are unsure, you should check with a local Personal Injury Attorney in your area. Ask for a Free Initial Consultation as that is the norm in the industry. Good luck.

    THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT IMPLY OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS IMPLIED OR CREATED BY RESPONDING OR FAILING TO RESPOND TO THIS RESPONSE. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE. FOR LEGAL ADVICE, YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

23,892 answers this week

2,754 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

23,892 answers this week

2,754 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary