Q. I received a call from an employee I recently fired, letting me know she listed me as a reference. She was terminated because of performance. Can I disclose that information to a potential employer?
A. You are not required to give any reference for a separated employee, and many employers choose to provide only position and dates of employment. If you would like to provide more detail, however, Pennsylvania has a reference immunity statute that generally permits employers to respond in good faith to requests for references by providing truthful and nonmisleading information about a former employee’s job performance.
In certain circumstances, you may feel compelled to alert a prospective employer to the former employee’s behavior, such as if you have reason to believe that the individual could pose a safety threat. Some courts have found employers that do not disclose such information to be liable for providing a “negligent reference.”