How often do bad references for good workers happen?

  1. 0
    I have heard of cases where the worker was a great worker and did really good quality work and an employer would give a bad reference in an attempt to keep them from getting a job and retaining the good employee.

    This scares me. How often does this really happen? Has anyone else heard of this happening?
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 5
    Anyone who provides false or misleading negative information in a reference could be sued for defamation or libel. References are written, so there's always a record of who says what. Most companies have very tight controls on who can provide references - usually they have to come through HR rather the manager, and they may restrict their response to only dates of employment and whether you are eligible for rehire.

    If you have reason to believe that your current employer will try to sandbag you to keep you from leaving, just don't tell him/her that you are looking for another job until you are ready to turn in your resignation. Inform prospective employers that you don't want them contacting your current supervisor at this time. It's standard practice.
    poppycat, KelRN215, SoldierNurse22, and 2 others like this.
  4. 0
    Bad references are legal as long as the information being exchanged about the candidate is factual. "Jane Doe was tardy approximately 45 times during her last six months of employment with our organization" would be an example of factual information that could be included in a reference.

    However, most major companies have internal policies that limit the content of references to dates worked and whether the employee is eligible for rehire, so bad references for supposedly 'good employees' are not all that common. Although they do happen on occasion, they're not common.
  5. 1
    This happened to me today actually! I have been awaiting reference checks for a new job, I got a call today saying they needed another professional reference because I had a negative one from a previous manager. What was so terrible that I'd gotten a negative reference? I got into a car wreck during my final 2 weeks and had to call in. This translated to "scheduling issues" and a "would not rehire." Never mind being a good employee before then. I've been working agency for awhile and finding it hard to track down professional references. Its frustrating.
    Esme12 likes this.
  6. 0
    I am more referring to a person who does good work and the reference gives the person a bad reference to prevent them from getting the job in order to retain them for their own organization.
  7. 1
    That happens too. My point is, it doesn't matter if you're a good worker or not, still an employee or not. Bad references happen to good nurses and you just have to have some back ups and roll with it. If you have reason to believe an employer has given you a bad reference, ask about it. Address the issues they brought up. Sometimes you can get a job in spite of a bad reference, especially if you can explain the negative points.
    Esme12 likes this.
  8. 0
    Quote from HouTx
    Anyone who provides false or misleading negative information in a reference could be sued for defamation or libel. References are written, so there's always a record of who says what. Most companies have very tight controls on who can provide references - usually they have to come through HR rather the manager, and they may restrict their response to only dates of employment and whether you are eligible for rehire.

    If you have reason to believe that your current employer will try to sandbag you to keep you from leaving, just don't tell him/her that you are looking for another job until you are ready to turn in your resignation. Inform prospective employers that you don't want them contacting your current supervisor at this time. It's standard practice.
    I agree. Don't ask your current employer for a reference if you think they're going to do something like that. That's what I did when I was looking for a new job... I didn't want my manager to have one hint that I wanted to leave because she would have tried to talk me out of it.
  9. 2
    I would never use a current manager/supervisor as a reference. It just puts everyone, including the job seeker, in an extremely awkward position.
    Nurse_Diane and monkeybug like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from wish_me_luck
    I am more referring to a person who does good work and the reference gives the person a bad reference to prevent them from getting the job in order to retain them for their own organization.
    I've seen it happen on an internal transfer. Not to me (or not that I'm aware of), but to a unit secretary on our unit. Our manager didn't want to go to the trouble of rehiring, so she really badmouthed the worker to another manager. The other manager let her know what was said.
  11. 2
    Quote from RW23RN
    This happened to me today actually! I have been awaiting reference checks for a new job, I got a call today saying they needed another professional reference because I had a negative one from a previous manager. What was so terrible that I'd gotten a negative reference? I got into a car wreck during my final 2 weeks and had to call in. This translated to "scheduling issues" and a "would not rehire." Never mind being a good employee before then. I've been working agency for awhile and finding it hard to track down professional references. Its frustrating.
    Rather sketchy of them to do...but unfortunately legal. You did call out during the last two weeks and most employers frown on that.

    If you're working agency consistently at one or two sites, see if there is a nurse/MD/other employer there who would be willing to be a reference. No one says references have to be managers or superiors; they can also be peers.
    Esme12 and Altra like this.


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