Defamation to New Employer

Can my employer say bad things about me to my new employer?


 It depends.  There is no general prohibition against a former employer “bad mouthing” you to new or prospective employers.  Remember, it is a free country, and we all have a right to our opinions.  Employers are free to express their opinions about you, including bad ones.

There are two specific laws that come into play in these circumstances; defamation and the Connecticut Personnel Files Act. Defamation is a false statement of fact that harms you in your reputation and is done with malice or at least with reckless disregard for the truth.  An example would be if a former employer falsely told a new or prospective employer during a reference check that you stole from them when in fact you did not and they knew you did not.  It would not be defamation if they honestly believed you stole.

 The Connecticut Personnel Files Act prohibits employers from disclosing individually identifiable information from your personnel file without your consent.  If your old employer told a prospective employer about a bad review that you got, they would be in violation of this law.  If instead they simply said that they did not like you or thought in their opinion you weren’t a good worker, they would not be violating this law.

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