Back-door references and slander
September 29, 2005 9:43 PM Subscribe
What is the least expensive and easiest way to fight a slanderous bad reference, when the reference's number was not provided by me? (The employer took the "back-door reference" route.)
posted by IndigoRain to law & government (18 answers total)
I was hired by a woman (with her own company) 6 weeks ago. I had given her 3 references and a list of previous employers. One of the previous employers, I only listed a name for (she was an individual who hired me) and my new employer took it upon herself to find this person's phone number and call her. (Monster.com calls this "back-door references", and calls it ethically questionable.) The former employer provided a false bad reference - she had fired me for personal issues, nothing relating to how I did my job, and may I say I had nearly had enoughl - and lied and told my new employer that I was absent all the time. Despite the bad reference, I was hired anyways, and not told about the bad reference.
I had a very serious family crisis this week (which is all I told my employer - "family crisis"), and had to miss one day. My new employer fired me for missing the one day, and told me about the bad reference she had received, and that that is why I didn't get a "second chance," so to speak. One missed day (for a very real and serious reason that I could have gotten documentation for) and I'm out, and she had never indicated it was going to be her policy.
Firstly, do I have any recourse since she did go the back-door route, circumventing my provided references and choosing to call someone else? (She did get positive references from the ones I provided.)
Secondly, as for the false reference, how can I fight it? The ex-employer won't return my calls. Is there a "cease-and-desist"-type letter I can send her? How hard is it to prove she had malicious intent when she gave that reference? I'm not sure I can afford a lawyer. Obviously, I'm not even going to list her as an ex-employer anymore.