If an employee was fired for violating company policy, for example, explain the circumstances, but avoiding adding unnecessary information or opinions. As well, courts, either expressly or otherwise, sometimes punish employers for refusing to provide a reference to an employee deserving of one.
For all of these reasons — some well-intentioned, others less so — employers often dash off letters of reference to employees, deserving or not, with little thought, hesitancy or foresight.
If you have absolutely nothing glowing to say about the employee, just stick to the facts. If you are asked to write a recommendation or reference letter for a terminated employee, you may wonder what you should say and how you should say it.
Such calls are generally not for the purpose of a job, but to make it difficult for the employer to later maintain, even justified, allegations of cause based on incompetence or misconduct. That concern is not without warrant, but careful thought should go into writing that reference.
Draft a reference letter than contains factual information, such as dates of employment, job title, a brief description of duties and responsibilities and, if requested, beginning and ending salary.
Employers should never provide a reference for employees fired for cause. Intelligence, hard work, creativity, temperament and sociability are all possible subjects. We asked a few attorneys to weigh in on how to protect yourself when writing a reference letter. Most of the time, writing that letter comes with little risk.
You have an employee who is average at best that you plan to let go. Many potential employers will call you as a reference and ask you to verify that the employee is worthy of being hired.
Refusal to provide a reference can subject you to lawsuits and can make you seem inflexible and short-sighted. The termination reason may also become an issue as you construct a reference letter.
If the former employee was a model employee without any performance issues during her employment, construct the reference in a manner reflecting that as long as you have performance reviews to back it up. After that, just follow some of these tips: Tell him that you prefer writing a letter to a specific individual or company so you have a record of how the reference letter is being used and for what purposes.
Maybe somebody you know applied for a scholarship and asked you as a present or former employer to write a letter for consideration by the committee? Employers providing references for a dismissed employee would be wise to heed the following: The above represents basic guidelines that are applicable to most state statutes but nothing beats the advice of a trusted attorney that knows your individual case.
It is the cleanest way to avoid future litigation. The larger risk for Canadian employers is negligent misrepresentation. You must tread carefully -- defamation and invasion of privacy are two potential legal claims you may face when giving out information about a former employee.
Knowing what you can say about a fired employee can help avoid or protect against litigation. That may be why, while some employers are too quick to dash off references, others are too reluctant.
Keep in mind the person to whom you direct the reference letter may ask if the former employee is eligible for rehire or if she gave sufficient notice of resignation.
While it may not amount to fraud - since that requires intent to defraud and mislead - it could lead to negligent misrepresentation which only requires negligence or a failure to act reasonably.Use this sample letter of reference as guide for the structure and contents of a personal recommendation or reference.
It should not be used without editing. This reference letter template can be modified when a colleague, student, or acquaintance reaches out to you about a employee reference letter. How to Write a Reference Letter for a Terminated Employee by Ruth Mayhew - Updated September 26, When looking for a job, a reference letter from a former employer can be tremendously helpful in validating a candidate’s skills, qualifications and experience.
What Can You Legally Say in Reference to a Fired Employee? by George Lawrence J.D.
Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since His work primarily. If you are asked to write a recommendation or reference letter for a terminated employee, you may wonder what you should say and how you should say it. The most important thing to do first is to check with your HR department and find out what legal ramifications are involved if you refuse or decline to write the letter.
If you provide information in your letter that is false, the former employee could sue you for defamation.
For that reason, San Diego Attorney Samuel Brotman says, “you generally want to avoid recommendation letters for employees that were either fired or laid off.” On the other hand, if you refuse to write a letter that could be a problem too.
When Allstate Insurance Co. learned one of their employees, Paul Calden, made death threats to co-workers and carried a gun to work in a briefcase, they fired him.
Allstate then gave Calden a neutral reference letter stating he'd voluntarily resigned because restructuring eliminated his position.Download