If we get called for a reference, can we just verify the former employee’s dates of employment?

Question: If we get called for a reference, can we just verify the former employee’s dates of employment?


Answer from Kyle, PHR: Yes, it’s up to you how much or how little you share about a former employee. There’s no legal requirement to supply employment references for former employees. If you do share any information, it should be fair and accurate. Many organizations choose to share only basic information about former employees, such as dates of employment and job title. You should be consistent when providing any information to avoid any appearance of discrimination.


If you would like to provide more in-depth information about an employee’s character or job performance, we recommend having a policy in place to guide current staff on what and how information may be shared.


This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.


Kyle is a professional author, editor, and researcher specializing in workplace culture, retention strategies, and employee engagement. He has previously worked with book publishers, educational institutions, magazines, news and opinion websites, nationally-known business leaders, and non-profit organizations. He has a BA in English, an MA in philosophy, and a PHR certification.

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