The laws pertaining to employment and labor in the USA differ from state to state. In Minnesota, employees who have been terminated from their job have the right to request a written explanation that truthfully discloses the reason for their termination. The employee must make the request in writing within five working days of their termination. The employer must respond to this request within five working days of receiving it. Across 37 states, laws are in place to protect the employer from liability allegedly resulting from an employer's reference. In general, the protection is in regard to information about the employee’ s performance at their job made by the future employer.
In Georgia, employers who make statements about an ex-employee on request for a reference are treated as privileged if the employer is not considered to have acted maliciously. In Texas, the laws provide previous employers with the freedom to disclose a rich amount of information, such as job performance, attendance, attitude, level of effort, knowledge of their behavior and skills. Also, laws in Virginia allow a former employer to disclose an ex-employees professional conduct, reasons for termination, their job performance, and results of written evaluations during employment.
However, some states allow the former employee to request that their personal information is protected, and not disclosed to future employers (Bahls, 1999). In contrast, some states do not have laws that protect the employer from litigation regarding employee references (e. g., Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia). For example, in Massachusetts, it is argued by those concerned, that an immunity status from the employer does not extend on, or provide better protection as that which is already available through the court system.
In general, state case law means that an employer is immune from liability for information contained in a reference if it is disclosed in good faith (Bahls, 1999).
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