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Disclosing information about a former employee

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Executive Employment

When asked to provide a reference check for a former employee, you may feel uncertain about what you can and cannot discuss. While you want to be honest about an employee’s performance, you likely know you should avoid certain topics.

Being cautious is key, as the process involves navigating legal boundaries designed to protect both the employee’s privacy and the employer’s right to share relevant information.

Job performance details

It is within your rights as an employer to reveal information regarding the former employee’s job performance. This may encompass their duties, accomplishments and overall contributions to the organization.

Reasons for departure

You may discuss the reasons for the former employee’s departure. Whether the employee left due to resignation, layoff or termination, providing clarity on the circumstances surrounding their exit is acceptable.

Professional conduct

Employers can share information about the former employee’s professional conduct. This could include interactions with colleagues and adherence to workplace policies. Insights into their ability to work collaboratively and maintain a positive work environment are within legal boundaries.

Skills and qualifications

You may discuss the former employee’s skills and qualifications relevant to the job. This includes their expertise, training and any certifications contributing to their suitability for the position.

Personal information

Employers are generally not allowed to disclose personal information unrelated to job performance. Details about the former employee’s personal life, health or other private matters are typically off-limits.

Legal limitations

Be certain to adhere to legal standards and provide accurate information. Avoid making false statements or intentionally misleading potential employers when discussing a former employee. Ensuring honesty and accuracy maintains fairness in the employment process.

By respecting these guidelines, employers can navigate reference checks responsibly, providing valuable insights while upholding the privacy and fairness of the employment process.