Negative Job Reference Okay in Ohio

Nick Fishman

Over the last several years, many employers have become fearful of providing a negative job reference or employment verification.  They think that doing so would give rise to costly litigation.  It has caused many of them to simply divulge basic information about their past employees such as employment dates and job titles when contacted by prospective employers for employment background checks.

Those in the state of Ohio can rest a little easier though, according to Jon Hyman, labor and employment attorney from Kohrman, Jackson and Krantz.  See excerpt from his recent blog posting below:

There are more people looking for work than at any time in the last 25 years. If you happen to be one of the companies hiring at the moment, you will likely have more applicants than you will know what to do with. How do you sift the good candidates from the bad, those who were laid off through no fault of their own from those who were terminated for poor performance? References are one tool, yet many employers seldom provide them out of a mistaken fear that they can be sued for giving a poor one.

Do you know? Ohio has a specific law, R.C. 4113.71, that protects employers that give negative job references. One employer can give another employer information about an employee’s job performance without fear of liability, unless:

1. the former employer knows the information is false, or makes the disclosure with the intent to mislead, in bad faith, or with a malicious purpose, or

2. the information is provided in violation of the employment discrimination laws (for example, an employer gives good references to white employees and bad references to black employees).

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In addition to this Ohio law, employers should also be cognizant of the fact that you can be held liable for not divulging information when providing an employment reference.  We chronicled this very issue in the article, Employment Verifications: Less May No Longer Be More!

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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  • hi
    Cutting wrote active a correspondent matter early this period! In Nick’s transmittal he references an Ohio “suspension harmless” law that alllows employers to lot thorough references on time employees….
    Job Site

  • Warren

    In the Healthcare Industry, If you witness unethical conditions or treatment and say anthing…, your made an example of.

    You find yourself with patient assignments on three sides of the building. Co-workers that demand your help but are unavailable for you. Called off work when census is low, other “A- kissers” are not.
    etc etc etc…,

    They contort the facts to report so you look like a bad employee. In fact they, the management create the situation. For Example…, A local hospital was to close one of their buildings/hospitals. The employees were told to say on board.., there would be positions at the other hospital for them. Three weeks after their transfer to the remaining hospital they were terminated! The remaining employees found other jobs before the summer was out the entire lab department experiences a total turn over. Three patients were Type and Crossed for Blood products incorrectly and suffered organ failures., perm. damage resulted.

    The state mandated a investigation, $40k dollars worth. Anyone in the hospital could have told them in one paragraph what happened. They run off properly trained employees with poor business practices and greed! The new employees who made the errors, were labeled poor employees when referred to future employers!