It is not unlawful for a former employer to give bad references unless the statements made are provably false statements of fact (not opinion). Complaints about bad references are common but they are among the least productive to pursue by legal action because the proof will almost always be impossible. NONE of the prospective employers to whom you think false statements of facts were made by your former employer are going to cooperate with you and give the evidence that you need to prove a case. That is just the fact of business. Those prospective employers do not have the time, energy, patience, or interest in getting drawn into your fight with your former employer.
And because your claim is, practically speaking, unprovable experienced attorneys will not be interested in handling your case on a contingent fee arrangement. Instead you will need to fund the case from your own pocket and you can expect attorneys fees and costs of at least $40,000 over approximately three years. You are unlikely to win, but if you do you are unlikely to win as much as it cost you to obtain the result in court.
Good luck with your current discrimination case. That is your best option at present.
As for your best answer contest, meh.
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