My former employer, when contacted by prospective employers I have applied to, is refusing to give a reference and also is stating that they would not rehire me. I did not resign under negative circumstances and I wish to know if I can find out how many other possible employers they have made these statements to and if I have any legal action if I can prove that these negative-sounding statements about me have caused other prospective employers not to consider me. I have one very good potential job but one issue holding them back from offering me the position is what my former employer has stated, which is what brought this situation to light. Thank you.
1 Answer from Attorneys
You need to send a certified letter to your employer asking them for a service letter. A service letter is required by law in cases where a former employee asks for it. The statute, Section 290.140, states in applicable part as follows:
Whenever any employee of any corporation doing business in this state and which employs seven or more employees, who shall have been in the service of said corporation for a period of at least ninety days, shall be discharged or voluntarily quit the service of such corporation and who thereafter within a reasonable period of time, but not later than one year following the date the employee was discharged or voluntarily quit, requests in writing by certified mail to the superintendent, manager or registered agent of said corporation, with specific reference to the statute, it shall be the duty of the superintendent or manager of said corporation to issue to such employee, within forty-five days after the receipt of such request, a letter, duly signed by such superintendent or manager, setting forth the nature and character of service rendered by such employee to such corporation and the duration thereof, and truly stating for what cause, if any, such employee was discharged or voluntarily quit such service.
You can find the service letter statute on line at http://www.moga.state.mo.us/statutes/c200-299/2900000140.htm.
You can essentially force the employer to disclose the nature and character of your service, and if the employer tells someone something other than what is in the letter, you have a prima-facie case of slander/libel.
Hope this helps.
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