Can I sue my former employer for giving me a bad reference?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2021 | Employer Retaliation, Employment Disputes |

Some companies may require you to submit reference letters to be considered for a job position. This means that, to some extent, your job offer will depend on what your former boss thinks of you. If your ex-boss sent a bad reference to your prospective employer, you may be able to file a blacklisting claim against your ex-boss if what they wrote is not true.

What is blacklisting?

Blacklisting happens when an employer prevents a former employee from getting a new job. A former boss can defame an ex-employee in different ways, and disclosing untruthful information about their performance or termination is one of them. Disclosing information includes writing a bad reference intentionally. You must note that the reference must be untruthful for the action to count as a blacklisting offense. You cannot hold your former boss liable for writing the real reasons why they fired you or a truthful description of your performance at work. However, if your ex-boss lied, you have the right to file a legal claim against them.

Filing a blacklisting claim

If you are sure that what your ex-employer wrote about you is false, you can file a blacklisting claim against them in civil court. To prove to the court that you were a victim of blacklisting, you can ask your prospective employer for a copy of what your ex-employer sent them. You must do this no later than 30 days after you sent out your job application. Once you have the evidence, you can start the procedure with the court.

Winning the case

If you win the case, the court may award you with punitive damages and compensation for your lost wages or other financial losses. The court also has the power of making your former employer stop with all their blacklisting efforts. Additionally, if you believe that what they wrote was an act of revenge for reporting them for an unlawful action (like sexual harassment or discrimination), you may also file a claim for employment retaliation against them.

Doing justice

If you have been a victim of blacklisting, you have the right to fight back. Your former employer will try to avoid being held liable at all costs, so it would be in your best interest to seek legal representation in court. That way, you won’t lose your employment opportunity because of your ex-employer’s lies.


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