What Information Can a Previous Employer Give?

by Greg Brian; Updated September 26, 2017
Businesspeople in a meeting

A prospective employer frequently searches into your career past when you apply for a new job. This usually includes calling a former employer for information about you. Most states have no laws forcing former employers to release information about you, says Jeff Shane of Hcareers. In most cases, prospective employers are merely requesting confirmation of when and where you previously worked.

Information that is Legal

If you have a good track record with your former employer, expect good opinions about you. A former employer is within his legal right to saying anything about you that is true, even if negative. This includes a confirmation of dates you worked for him. Also legal is information pertaining to your final salary before leaving.

Information that is Illegal

Information from a former employer of a defaming nature might be illegal in your state. This includes discriminatory remarks about your gender, religion or sexual preference, as well as sexually harassing comments or basic negative comments about something you know is untrue. False references from former employers are slander. Make copies of your personnel files for legal protection and proof. Many states allow this by law, including California through its California Information Practices Act.

Information on Drug Tests

Former employer information is more personal when applying for a job such as a truck driver. By law of the Department of Transportation, former employers must provide information on whether a truck driver passed, failed or refused a drug test.

Legal Steps

When a former employer deliberately prevents you from obtaining new employment, legal steps are possible. Hire an attorney if this is happening to you. A cease-and-desist letter is one possible legal maneuver. This is a method of blocking a former employer from spreading untruths about you. Nevertheless, most former employers avoid negativity about former employees due to legal ramifications.

About the Author

Greg Brian is a freelance writer who took his diverse writing skills to the Internet in 2007. He currently writes for various prestigious websites. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in business management from Trend Business College in 1993.

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