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Can A Former Employer Give A Bad Reference?

Can a former employer give a bad reference for a terminated employee under Connecticut law?  The short answer is yes.  Contrary to popular belief, there is no Connecticut law that prohibits a former employer from giving a bad reference to a terminated employee so long as the reference is made in good faith.  In other words, the former employer cannot falsely accuse the ex-employee or fabricate information to damage the individual's professional reputation.  If this occurs, the former employee can bring a defamation claim against the former employer.  However, if the the employer simply expresses a good faith opinion that the former employee was a poor worker, the employer is legally allowed to do so.

Now, practically speaking, most former employers refrain from giving any reference at all, let alone a negative one.  Why? because if a negative reference is given, the former employee may use it as evidence of retaliation or in support of a wrongful termination claim based upon unlawful discrimination on the account of race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious background, pregnancy, and/or national origin.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.