How to Give a Negative Employee Reference

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How to Give a Negative Employee Reference. While it's easy to be a glowing reference for former top-notch employees or colleagues, it is much more challenging to give a negative reference. Here are some simple steps to guide you.

Things You'll Need

  • File Cabinets
  • File Folders

Confirm to the employer who contacts you that the job candidate worked for your company.

State the time period during which the person was employed, and his or her job title. Let your human resources department confirm the former employee's compensation.

Offer no additional information. Derogatory remarks could land you in a costly and lengthy lawsuit.

Give the former employee a written letter stating the dates of employment and his or her pay level at the time of discharge. The ex-employee could present that to prospective employers instead of asking them to call you.

Inform the ex-employee, if he or she wants to know what you have been saying, that as a matter of policy you'll provide only confirmation of employment dates, job titles and pay level.

Tell the former employee exactly what you said, if he or she asks you.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the person who is inquiring about the ex-employee is your close personal friend, you might be willing to risk making a few general comments about the ex-employee's merits or performance on the job.
  • Remember that anything you say to a prospective employer - even a close friend - could get back to the employee and land you in court.

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