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Can your former employer belittle you to new companies?

Your performance at prior jobs can influence your eligibility for a new position or how much the new company will pay you for your work. Obviously, it is very important that you impress the company where you want to secure a new position.

Companies hiring white-collar employees and other professionals for competitively-compensated positions will do a reference check and validate someone’s work history. Can your former boss who didn’t like you as a person complain about you and make you seem like a bad worker during a reference check or work history confirmation call?

Employers should not divulge personal information

There are two reasons that a prospective employer might call your former employer. The first and more common is to verify that you did work there and confirm that you provided accurate information about when you were employed and your title. Other times, you might use one of your former managers or coworkers as a professional reference.

When the phone call is only about confirming your work history, it could be a violation of your privacy rights and an act of defamation for a manager to disparage your personality or your work ethic. If you use them as a reference, there is more leeway regarding what they can say.

If there is any chance of negative feedback from a specific prior boss, you may want to replace them with a different reference. Those who eventually realize that they lost job opportunities because a former employer defamed them to new companies may be in a position to take legal action. Standing up for your rights when out searching for a new job can help you protect your prospects and move on from a toxic workplace.


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