Regarding employment verification requests, many employers are not aware that there are employer immunity or shield laws in place in most states to protect them when giving employee performance information to prospective employers or their agents ...
When CIC conducts an employment verification, we have a group of standard questions that we ask regarding a current or former employee’s work performance. Often, we are told that it is company policy to only verify dates and title. However, many of the employers we call on for an employment verification are able to answer our questions. Most will require a release from the employee, which we always have in place before we begin work on a background check.
Employment Verification: What are the Benefits?
When an employer provides information for purposes of employment verification, it benefits all involved:
The employee, because positive information regarding job performance that could affect pending employment is passed on to the potential employer.
The employer, because negative information regarding job performance that could have a bearing on the productivity and/or safety of the workplace is passed on.
The former employer because, in the case of a negative verification, they have limited their liability by providing critical information; and, in the case of a positive verification, they have provided vital information for the potential employer to use in determining job fit, suitability, etc.
Employment Verification: Ohio Employer ImmunityIn Ohio, the statute pertaining to Employer Immunity is found at: https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/section-4113.71
(B) An employer who is requested by an employee or a prospective employer of an employee to disclose to a prospective employer of that employee information pertaining to the job performance of that employee for the employer and who discloses the requested information to the prospective employer is not liable in damages in a civil action to that employee, the prospective employer, or any other person for any harm sustained as a proximate result of making the disclosure or of any information disclosed, unless the plaintiff in a civil action establishes, either or both of the following:
1. By a preponderance of the evidence that the employer disclosed particular information with the knowledge that it was false, with the deliberate intent to mislead the prospective employer or another person, in bad faith, or with malicious purpose;
2. By a preponderance of the evidence that the disclosure of particular information by the employer constitutes an unlawful discriminatory practice described in section 4112.02, 4112.021, or 4112.022 of the Revised Code.
Employment Verification Checks: Dos and Don'ts
Here are some “Dos and Don’ts” when giving employment performance information during an employment verification check:
- Do provide information on incidents that have been documented.
- Do refer to your documentation to make sure of the facts.
- Do stick to documented factual information and avoid personal opinions.
- Do ask for a copy of the employees authorization to provide information.
- Don't disclose medical records.
- Don't disclose records that may violate the former employees civil rights.
- Don't knowingly provide false information.
- Don't embellish the records.
If you are asked to give employment verification information on a former employee, consider answering the questions posed. Your employment law attorney will have insight and guidance into the immunity laws in your state and how they apply to your individual situation, so always remember to consult with them when making any changes to your company policy.
For information on where to find the employer immunity statutes in other states, contact the research experts at CIC.
Employment Background Checks
CIC provides an employment screening platform that allows you to make background check requests, review reports and track applicants at your convenience while enjoying quick turnaround of results. Our experienced background screening specialists will work with you to tailor research based on your employment needs and keep you compliant with the FCRA and other applicable state and local laws.
For more information about this article, or general Employment Screening Services, please contact us at 1.800.573.2201 / 419.874.2201.