Former Job References Who Over Share Information and Cost
you the Job Offer
How To Stop The Flow Of (Over) Information
DETROIT (March 1, 2011) - There seems to be one (or
more) in every workplace: the “over sharer” or unregulated speaker.
This is the person who has not quite mastered the “think before you
speak” philosophy, who has yet to realize that “loose lips sink ships.”
In the professional world, this behavior often manifests itself in
the workplace as an inappropriate joke, sharing too much personal
information or leaking confidential company data. And while this person
can be a challenge to work with on a day to day basis, they can be
downright catastrophic as a reference, providing much more information
than is warranted or requested (or prudent) to a potential employer.
With 30 years as a reference checking and reference consulting
company, Allison & Taylor
has heard it all: discrimination
in many forms, references explaining the relationships / sleeping
habits of former employees, HR Managers refusing to comment until the
“litigation is complete” and Board Members who say “Are you sure he
listed me as a reference?”
If you are considering or in the midst of a career change, and
suspect that someone may provide negative input as a reference, take
the proactive step of a reference check... before the office “over sharer”
has a chance to torpedo your chances of landing that great new job.
Professional reference checking may have one or more objectives, e.g.
damage control, name clearing, warning the former employer that the
employee is in the marketplace [the sanguine employer realizing it does
have a duty to mitigate both its and its former employee's damages],
extending the opportunity to the former employer to aid the former
employee in securing employment so the former employee can discontinue
unemployment compensation chargeable to the employer, etc.
Professional reference checking firm Allison & Taylor offers
three common reference scenarios where references offer too much
information, and what can be done:
Scenario #1- An employer calls for information on
you, a job applicant aged 40+. In the course of discussion, the
reference makes a comment such as “Well, we both know that this
industry is a young man's game- he's a good worker, but I don't know
how long he'll stick around- he is 52 years old, after all.”
What can be done: Age Discrimination as defined by
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, relates to individuals 40
years of age or older who have been discriminated against based on
their age. These kinds of age-related comments might be considered discriminatory.
Depending on the nature of the comment, you may have legal recourse,
and a professional reference
check from Allison & Taylor is admissible in court.
Scenario #2- After a wrongful
termination, a former boss is divulging specific details of your
exit from the company. “I fired her. She was stealing
from the company.”
What can be done: If your reference is discussing
elements of your termination, they are walking a very thin line legally
by providing details. If a wrongful
termination is established, an employee then has the right to sue
his/her former employer for damages.
Scenarios #3- Perhaps due to professional
jealousies, a reference provides an unflattering, and untrue picture of
your abilities. “Totally inept- he could not do anything correctly in
the position he held with us”.
What can be done: There is a very good chance that
this type of commentary is prohibited by company policy, and for good
reason. Many times a simple Cease and Desist
letter will be enough to put an end to these statements.
These scenarios, and many others (see
a list of actual comments provided by references here), are
unfortunately more common that the job seeker might imagine; Allison
& Taylor estimates that 50% of their references can be categorized
as “lukewarm” or “negative”.
Don't allow yourself to be surprised and sabotaged by an unfavorable
reference. A simple reference check, conducted by a professional agency
such as Allison & Taylor, can tell you definitively whether or not
a reference is providing a positive,
professional response to inquiries made about you. If they are not,
you can take proactive steps to prevent this continued spread of
negative information, and you
may even have legal recourse.
To find out more about reference checking, please visit Allison & Taylor.
About Allison & Taylor:
Do you know what a former boss will say about you? Allison &
Taylor, Inc. and its principals have been in the business of
checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984. Allison &
Taylor, Inc., is headquartered in Rochester, Mich. For further
details on services and procedures please visit http://www.allisontaylor.com/.
Allison & Taylor: Find us on Facebook and Follow us on
(800) 651-8202 or (800) 890-5645 USA toll-free
+1 (248) 672-4200 direct dial
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Job Reference Specialists.