Giving False Bad Reference

Updated | Posted

lie-reference-nurse.jpg.d5b6c3dd7851d12b63fa78aa470374c5.jpg

I recently learned about this situation that happened on my floor. One of our charge nurses used to date another team member who left the hospital and moved to another state. When looking for a job in another state, he of course, relied on another team member to provide reference. Well, when HR called our hospital, our charge nurse who he used to date, answered the floor phone, pretended to be the reference, and provided extremely bad review. 

When I heard about this I felt uncomfortable and disturbed. It didn't help that the same charge nurse (who is usually very sweet) at one point said that if one of team members “ever leaves and they call for a reference I will have to tell them the truth.” Now I am thinking, even if she leaves and the other hospital calls, you are most likely not going to be her reference. Why would you “tell the truth.” (This is about one of our nurses who is extremely anxious and difficult to work with when under stress).

Anyway, the second one is just hypothetical situation. But what happened to that guy is highly disturbing and I am not even sure how to “exist” in that environment. 

I have no question, just wanted to share and see what you guys think of this behavior and situation.

AlwaysTiredNP

AlwaysTiredNP, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 10 years experience. 40 Posts

Highly unethical. If you can use HR to verify employment or get someone’s personal phone and email. 

Okami_CCRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 7 years experience. 845 Posts

I agree, the situation you described is disturbing. However, I am surprised that the job candidate did not provide personal contact information for the reference, but rather the unit phone number. Hopefully HR does their due diligence in vetting the reference. 

I am also surprised that HR would call for a reference. In my experience serving as a reference for multiple co-workers seeking employment elsewhere, I usually receive an email with a link to a secure questionnaire regarding the candidate. I have actually never had HR contact me directly for a verbal reference. 

 

FutureNurse0201

FutureNurse0201

81 Posts

1 minute ago, Okami_CCRN said:

I agree, the situation you described is disturbing. However, I am surprised that the job candidate did not provide personal contact information for the reference, but rather the unit phone number. Hopefully HR does their due diligence in vetting the reference. 

I am also surprised that HR would call for a reference. In my experience serving as a reference for multiple co-workers seeking employment elsewhere, I usually receive an email with a link to a secure questionnaire regarding the candidate. I have actually never had HR contact me directly for a verbal reference. 

 

I am not entirely sure if it was HR but it definitely was someone from the other hospital asking for the employee who is a reference. They were put on hold and then charge nurse answered the phone. Seems like her ex was really bad in their relationship and she has every right to be mad but I just cant wrap my head around this. I was even tempted to ask the real reference if someone ever contacted her and if she was expecting the call. 
 

JKL33

6,319 Posts

2 hours ago, FutureNurse0201 said:

It didn't help that the same charge nurse (who is usually very sweet) at one point said that if one of team members “ever leaves and they call for a reference I will have to tell them the truth.”

Hmm. Sounds like a big talker. I suspect this is part of her program to make herself feel more significant or to at least make others think she is. She's really counting on HR calling the floor (weird) and her being right there to answer the phone so that she can tell the "truth." Meanwhile innumerable others in the nursing world can't even get a reference from a hospital due to their practices of mostly only providing dates of employment and whether or not the former employee is eligible for rehire. 

This is all malarkey.

#IGNORE

 

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,293 Posts

10 hours ago, Okami_CCRN said:

I agree, the situation you described is disturbing. However, I am surprised that the job candidate did not provide personal contact information for the reference, but rather the unit phone number. Hopefully HR does their due diligence in vetting the reference. 

I am also surprised that HR would call for a reference. In my experience serving as a reference for multiple co-workers seeking employment elsewhere, I usually receive an email with a link to a secure questionnaire regarding the candidate. I have actually never had HR contact me directly for a verbal reference. 

 

Depends on the facility. Smaller facilities don't have the fancy email stuff. I recently gave a phone reference to a travel agency for a nurse.

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 10,085 Posts

"This is the stuff dramas are made of, sweetheart." -Sam Spade

chare

3,567 Posts

13 hours ago, FutureNurse0201 said:

I recently learned about this situation that happened on my floor. ...

How exactly did you "learn about this?"  I'm not saying it couldn't have happened as you suggest; however, unless you personally heard this you should take it with the proverbial grain of salt.

FutureNurse0201

FutureNurse0201

81 Posts

52 minutes ago, chare said:

How exactly did you "learn about this?"  I'm not saying it couldn't have happened as you suggest; however, unless you personally heard this you should take it with the proverbial grain of salt.

One of my coworkers who I trust told me what happened during the week I wasn’t there. When he told me that I remembered what she said about the other nurse and how she has to tell the “truth”. And it makes sense, if she already did it once, she will think she will be providing references again. 
But, yes, I didn't hear this myself, I wasn’t there when the phone call happened.

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 13 years experience. 3,878 Posts

17 hours ago, FutureNurse0201 said:

1. Well, when HR called our hospital, our charge nurse who he used to date, answered the floor phone, pretended to be the reference, and provided extremely bad review. 

2. Why would you “tell the truth.” 

3. I am not even sure how to “exist” in that environment.

I added numbers so you could more easily see what I am referencing....

1. If this happened, obviously it is totally inappropriate. However, unless you actually witnessed her lie about her identity--she says "Yes, this is Sally Smith," when she is actually June Jones--then there is really nothing you can do.  At this point, it's just gossip...no matter how much you trust whomever told you about it.

2. If I were the potential employer, I would expect the reference to "tell the truth."  If I were to ask about weaknesses, and the reference says "she doesn't have any," then that would, in my mind, put the validity of the entire refence into question. Everyone has weakness, and I would think that "anxiety under pressure" is a fairly common one.

3.  Not my place to tell you how you should feel, but this feels a bit extreme. Don't let this person's petty behavior take up room in your mind; especially since all you have is 2nd or 3rd hand gossip.

Edited by psu_213

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,201 Posts

It sounds like this will leave your former coworker in a potentially bad spot and that's unfortunate. However, I think there aren't too many situations where this would impact you in the future. 

First, I would not give the unit phone number for a reference. If it's employment verification, they should be contacting HR. And I provide personal contact information for references after I've confirmed that they would be willing to be a reference. In my experience, when potential employers call a facility directly they are often unable to provide an actual reference. I know that my hospital has a blanket "no references" policy, so if someone calls the hospital, even the managers are unable to provide any information beyond whether the person did work there. 

As for anything else related to this person or the unit dynamics, I would do my best to not acknowledge it further. Don't feed into the drama, for your own mental health. 

DrNurseCNS

DrNurseCNS

Specializes in Advanced Practice, Critical Care. Has 40 years experience. 17 Posts

6 hours ago, JBMmom said:

First, I would not give the unit phone number for a reference. If it's employment verification, they should be contacting HR.... In my experience, when potential employers call a facility directly they are often unable to provide an actual reference. I know that my hospital has a blanket "no references" policy, so if someone calls the hospital, even the managers are unable to provide any information beyond whether the person did work there....

 

If what the charge nurse said interfered with the former co-worker's (boyfriend) ability to secure employment, that charge nurse could be in for some legal trouble. No wonder a hospital has a "no references" policy. HR is only allowed to confirm dates of employment and sometimes will answer the question, "Is this employee eligible for re-hire." If not eligible, the hunt for references may stop right there.