What is the name of your state? CA
Several days ago I asked whether or not an employer can refuse to provide a job reference. CBG stated that a former employer cannot be forced to give a reference.
Since then I have done a little legal research and discovered that under EEOC guidelines, refusing to provide a job reference could be considered retaliation when an employee or former employee exercises their rights under Title VII. Even when the employee suffered no adverse reaction, when the intent of an employer is to retaliate for the employee taking action that is protected under Title VII, the employee may have a claim. Hashimoto v. Dalton, 118 F.3d 671, 676 (9th Cir. 1997).
In Ray v. Henderson, 217 F.3d 1234 (9th Cir. 2000), the 9th Circuit specifically adopted the EEOC's interpretation of "adverse employment action" in the retaliation context to mean "any adverse treatment that is based on a retaliatory motive and is reasonably likely to deter the charging party or others from engaging in protected activity." "There is nothing in the law of retaliation that restricts the type of retaliatory act that might be visited upon an employee who engages in protected activity." See Ray, 217 F.3d at 1243, quoting Knox v. State of Indiana, 93 F.3d 1327, 1334 (7th Cir. 1996). Therefore, where an employer has consistently provided an excellent job reference for a number of years and then violates that policy after the individual has engaged in a protected activity (i.e., advising employer that he has violated the law by divulging confidential informatin), this action could be considered retaliatory.
I am posting this because others may be interested.