What Can Past Employers Say About Me?

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What Can Past Employers Say About Me?

Although many applicants think past employers can’t say anything bad about them, that’s not exactly true. Former employers are generally able to say what they want—as long as it’s factual. Illinois Legal Aid notes that past employers can even specify that they fired a previous employee. There are limits on what companies can say, though. The legal reporting site FindLaw lists three ways in which past employers are limited on what they can say:

  • Blacklisting: About 20 states have laws that prohibit a former employer from intentionally trying to prevent a person from getting a new job.
  • Defamation: Just like anyone, employers may be guilty of defamation if they give false information that damages someone’s reputation or economic interests.
  • Privacy: Disclosing private information unrelated to the job can open an employer to an invasion of privacy suit or an emotional distress suit.

Because of these limits and the cost of lawsuits, many employers have a policy of only confirming dates of employment. Some employers will also state whether a past employer is eligible for rehire.

What information appears on employee verification checks?

Screening companies that go beyond simple record checks conduct person-to-person interviews with past coworkers to get an idea of their experience with the applicant. Here are four questions that guide the company’s employment background check interviews:

  • The applicant’s previous jobs,
  • Prior salaries,
  • Dates and length of employment and
  • Whether the applicant is eligible for rehire.

The final report will likely contain a list of past employers, the positions held, start and end dates, salary, hours worked, eligibility for rehire and the source of the information. Want to know what employers will find out about you? Companies like My Pre-Employment Check offer applicants the chance to see what employers will see before applying for jobs.  

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