At the end of March I was given a raise by the COO of our company, saying that she "didn't want to lose me". April 11th I was laid off because my dept was "costing more money than it was making". When I was laid off the COO told me that she would be happy to be a reference for me for future jobs. Today I was scheduled to have my final interview for a great position. The man conducting the interview sent an e-mail saying that 'Susan', the COO gave me a "very bad reference" and that they would be going with another candidate.
I received a raise just before being laid off (due to budget issues, not any kind of misconduct). I am now missing out on job opportunities due to this COO giving me bad reviews. I do not know what was said, just that they were bad. What do I do to stop her?? She has no right to say things that are untrue, and that were NEVER brought to my attention. What type of legal action can be taken to stop her from doing this? I am certain there is nothing in my employee file showing any wrong doing on my part (unless it is fake). I am very educated and should be able to find a great position, but cannot, due to former COO's untrue comments.
You need to speak with a local employment attorney. Different states have different laws as to what can be provided in response to a refernce from a former employer.
This response is only general information and is not legal advice. It does not form an attorney-client relationship and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. You should seek a qualified attorney before taking any action related to your inquiry.
It's very difficult to answer this question without knowing Susan's exact words. The general legal rule is that you can sue for defamation if the person makes a false statement of *fact* and you are harmed as a result, but you cannot sue for defamation if the person makes a statement of *opinion.*
First, I am sorry to hear about your situation. Very frustrating, I know. Second, I would recommend that you use the "find a lawyer" option at the top right of this website to find an employment law attorney there in Utah County and/or SLC County. Avvo ratings are not totally reliable in all instances, but they are a good start on researching a good fit for you and finding a qualified attorney for your situation. Best of luck!
This answer is given solely as a service. No attorney/client relationship is created hereby. Please retain your own legal counsel.
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