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What info is legal for ex-company to divulge to potential hiring company? New Jersey

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  • What info is legal for ex-company to divulge to potential hiring company? New Jersey

    I was "fired" by old company in after a takeover. All senior employees eventually were let go. Originally contested my unemployment as firing for misconduct, but unemployment ruled I did everything I possibly could do in the given situation and so was fired for "non-performance" which is the company's right but can't deny UEI.

    I had a great interview with new company a few weeks ago and they were already talking about me in the position and that they would call me back to meet others, etc. Never heard back and they haven't returned any voicemail messages. Wondering if they could have contacted old company and gotten bad report.

    Is it legal in NJ for company to give reason for termination, etc to another company? How can an employee know what's being said and if it's truthful?

  • #2
    I've noticed a lot of companies these days don't let interviewees know if they have not been selected for further consideration; rude, IMHO, but not all that uncommon. Or, there could just be a delay; that happens, too.

    They could have contacted your former employer. However, as long as the company told them the truth or their honestly held opinion, there are no limits to what can be said; that there is is a widely held myth, but a myth nonetheless.

    For example, they could not legally say "Bob was fired for stealing" if Bob wasn't fired for stealing. However, they could legally say "Bob had a lousy attitude about XX" because that's a subjective opinion, even though Bob doesn't agree.
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    • #3
      Could they say I was fired for misconduct when even the State Unemployment Examiner disagreed? By the way, the "misconduct" was not reporting an accident that one of my drivers had at 7 PM on a Friday night until Monday morning at 7AM. I was manager in charge and all offices were closed early for a holiday weekend company wasn't open on Weekends anyway). Policy was accident report had to be submitted within 24 hours.

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      • #4
        Technically all UI can rule on is whether or not you are eligible for UI under NJ rules. You are assuming that this somehow equates to a formal ruling that no misconduct occurred that either must or probably be recognized by other jurisdictions. Anything is possible, but IMO not real likely.

        The general rule of thumb is that any employer can make any statement that they believe to correct. You can always sue the formal employer for pretty much anything you want, but to win a defamation claim you have to able to convince a judge that your employer knowing made a false statement and that you can prove actual damages based on that statement. And you have to additionally be able to convince the same judge that you getting UI from NJ actually means something in libel court action.

        The vast number of terminated employees are eligible for UI. But the vast number of terminated employees are not "wrongfully terminated". You can make any argument you want, but at some point the judge is going to look at the actual law and prior court decisions. An actual court decision saying that NJ UI decisions are somehow applicable to defamation cases would be useful.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slander
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          In all 50 states, the employer can give out any information that is true, that they honestly believe is true, or that represents the employer's honest opinion.

          The UI commission can state that what occurred was not misconduct for UI purposes. That does not mean that the employer is prohibited from considering it misconduct under their own policies.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            Thanks for all of the great answers. I'm not actually considering filing for wrongful discharge or anything. My only concern is what they might tell potential new employers on an employment verification report that could hurt my chances of getting hired.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by qc4ever View Post
              My only concern is what they might tell potential new employers on an employment verification report that could hurt my chances of getting hired.
              As noted previously, they can tell them anything that is true, that they honestly
              believe to be true or is their honest opinion.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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              • #8
                Originally posted by qc4ever View Post
                I'm not actually considering filing for wrongful discharge or anything.
                Considering you don't have a valid wrongful termination issue, that' probably wise to not file.
                Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

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