Archive for the ‘employer references’ Category

You may recall that I recently posted about whether your employer can say bad things about you. I also said that these cases are not always the greatest unless you line all your cards up and make sure that you can prove your employer or former employer is saying bad things.

Well, a recent article by Lawyers USA shows what success an employee can have where they have lined all their ducks up. According to this article the number one jury verdict of 2009 was out in California and was against George Marciano, of Guess Jeans.

In this case, a Los Angeles jury awarded five former employees of Guess, a total of $370 million ($74 million) to each employee, due to Marciano’s defamation of these employees after their termination.

According to the employees, Marciano used his wealth and connections to cause investigations, tax audits, and accusations against them, all of which ended up in the newspaper or on Internet sites. Marciano then sued the former employees claiming, among other things, that they had stolen from him money, art, wine, and coin collections. His lawsuit was dismissed.
The former employees’ lawsuit against him was not dismissed. Indeed, Marciano was found to have engaged in “malicious and oppressive” conduct, defaming the former employees and causing them emotional distress. The employees were awarded compensatory and punitive damages.

So the moral of the story is the little guy/gal can win in these defamation claims against their former employer. You just need to make sure you document and obtain as many witnesses as possible to give yourself the greatest possible chance of success.


On many occasions employees ask whether or not they have a legal claim against their former employer or employers for giving bad references or saying bad things about them. The answer is you might have a claim if the information furnished by the employer was false. Under most state laws there could be a claim for defamation or slander. Your state may have its own employer reference statute. So research the applicable laws in your state. However, in Florida there is a statute that protects employers from giving references. It is contained at Florida Statutes 768.095. It provides as follows:

768.095 Employer immunity from liability; disclosure of information regarding former or current employees.–An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under chapter 760.

Due to this statute, it makes it more difficult in Florida to bring a claim for bad references against an employer unless you can show that the information provided by the former employer was knowingly false.

In any state, I would first go to one of the companies out there that calls to check on references given by former employers. Then you will have a witness and/or written statement of what was said by your former employer. That will make your claims against your former employer much easier.

One of the companies you can check out is They will call your former employer, prepare a written report and even testify as a witness in court if necessary.