What are job reference immunity statutes?
Job reference immunity statutes are state laws enacted to protect employers from liability when disclosing information about current or former employees. In order for an employer to be immune from liability, the reference provided must be factual and true, based on documented information, and not given with malice.
What are the advantages of job reference immunity statutes?
In light of the increasing legal risk associated with providing job references, many employers have become increasingly wary of providing employee job references. This trend is due to a growing number of large jury verdicts in job reference cases reported in the media and observed by legal scholars and other workplace commentators. Employers may create disparities when providing positive references for some employees but not others. This can be disadvantageous for well-qualified applicants, as it denies them the opportunity to receive favourable evaluations. Additionally, employers may unknowingly hire personnel that have exhibited inappropriate behaviour in the past due to a lack of knowledge. The Employment Reference Immunity Act is designed to promote honest and factual job references from employers for their employees.
What are the core principles of job reference immunity statutes established under common law?
Under common law, employers are granted a qualified or conditional privilege when providing job references. This privilege is meant to foster candid and open communication in the workplace, allowing employers to provide references without the risk of being sued for defamation. In some cases, courts may extend these privileges to claims of interference with business relationships. Employers are protected by common law qualified rights, provided that they do not abuse them.
What are the objectives of job reference immunity legislation?
The objectives of job reference immunity legislation are to provide employers with protection from liability when providing references for former employees and to encourage employers to provide accurate and relevant information about past employment.
What languages are covered by job reference immunity statutes?
What types of behaviors constitute a breach of trust in an employment context? What level of evidence is necessary to demonstrate an employer has acted in bad faith? Additionally, what kinds of data are protected under the applicable legislation, and in what circumstances? Employers and employees often have questions regarding their rights and obligations, which may vary significantly depending on the situation. Unfortunately, common law and the immunity statute provide limited guidance in these matters, as the statutes are occasionally difficult to interpret.
This document outlines a model policy, structured as follows:
Section 1: Title
Section 2: Declarations
Section 3: Definitions
Section 4: Main provisions
Section 5: Subordinate provisions
Section 6: Severability clause
Section 7: Repealer clause
Section 8: Effective date