What can employers say about former employees?

16 May 2013 Categories: All Blogs, Business Services, Nashville Attorney

Below is the Tennessee law on what employers can say about former employees when asked. The law gives you immunity for being truthful, fair and unbiased, but making negative remarks about a former employee can open the door to defamation lawsuits. Train all your employees to pass along reference requests to the proper person. If any of your employees makes disparaging remarks, your company could be liable. This should be addressed in your employee handbook and training of new employees.

50-1-105.  Providing employee information to prospective employers — Good faith. 

Any employer that, upon request by a prospective employer or a current or former employee, provides truthful, fair and unbiased information about a current or former employee’s job performance is presumed to be acting in good faith and is granted a qualified immunity for the disclosure and the consequences of the disclosure. The presumption of good faith is rebuttable upon a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the information disclosed was:

(1) Knowingly false;

(2) Deliberately misleading;

(3) Disclosed for a malicious purpose;

(4) Disclosed in reckless disregard for its falsity or defamatory nature; or

(5) Violative of the current or former employee’s civil rights pursuant to current employment discrimination laws.

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