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Has a former employer’s defamation of you cost you a job?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | Defamation

You have always considered yourself a model employee and have made a point of meeting or exceeding the performance metrics for every position you have ever held. You continue to monitor advances in your field and push yourself to keep improving your performance. When you leave a job, you always give your former employer the necessary two weeks of notice and do your best to leave on good terms.

After all, you rely on those companies to provide you with a reference when you apply for future jobs. Unfortunately, you seem to have recently hit a wall in your career development. Perhaps, after multiple interviews and a soft offer for a job, a major opportunity recently evaporated. As you followed up on the decision, it becomes increasingly clear that a reference check with your former employer played a role in the company’s decision.

Can you take action against the company for defamation?

Did you use the employer as a reference?

When a business calls a former employer to verify your employment history, they received different information than when they perform a reference check. If you name the company or specific employees there as a reference when applying for a job, California state law allows them to provide information to the company considering hiring you beyond just when you worked and your job title.

In addition to giving the reason for your separation, they can also give information about your job performance. Typically, you have no control over what someone says during a reference call, and you would be hard-pressed to make allegations of defamation. However, if they lied about the circumstances of your employment or if you have grounds to believe that they acted with malice, then you may have the right to take action.

The details of your case will influence the best option

No two employment law scenarios are identical. Your work history and relationship with your employers can have a major influence on the strength of your defamation claim and the likelihood of succeeding if you take a former employer to court.

Discussing your employment law concerns, such as a fear that a former employer’s defamation of your character has effectively blacklisted you from the best jobs in the area, could help you pursue legal remedies for a difficult employment situation.

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