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Can A Former Employer Give A Bad Reference?

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.


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