• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

bad employment reference hurting job hunt

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.



I was an office manager for a company which had 40+ independent contractors and between 3 and 4 office staff. The owner of the company and I had become friends throughout my 2+ years on the job. He knew I was going through a bad divorce and needed to move. He had a house he was willing to rent to me and did so at a greatly discounted price without a contract or deposit. This was not connected to my job. I was to manage the rent/repairs/payments on the house I was renting and one other house he had rented out. Well, I really screwed up and ended up taking money from the property management money when I was desparate etc. I finally wrote a letter to my boss telling him what I had done and gave my 2 weeks notice at work and also stated that I was giving my notice at work. He at first refused my resignation saying we would work it out. Then he decided that he couldn't trust me and that he would accept my resignation. I have repaid part of what I owe him, and the rest I signed a note for, to be taken out of my profit sharing plan when it becomes eligible for withdrawal next year.

The problem is, when anyone that I have applied to for a job asks why I left his employment, he proceeds to tell them the whole story. He admits that I am in the top 97% of workers in the County, very reliable on the job, hard working, etc. But, he insists on sharing the details of what happened between he and I on a personal level.

One person he told wasn't even affiliated with the company I had applied with - it was the owners girlfriend, who was a friend of my boss and she mentioned to him that I was one of 3 people her boyfriend's company was considering for a position - I never got the second interview after his conversation with her.

The second time he told the manager of a company I had applied for a position with, and had been all but promised the position, until his conversation with the ex boss.

The I landed a great job. I had been working there for 2 months when low and behold the manager came it and asked to speak to me. He asked me point blank to tell him about what happened with my previous employer. And I did, looked him in the eye and told it all. He said he did not hear it from anyone in my previous company, suspected he had heard it 3rd or 4th hand. I did a little checking and found out that my previous boss had just played golf with the man who just retired from the company that hired me (he retired prior to my starting to work there) and he was in no way connected to the company anymore, but he must have felt obligated to tell the new manager. The new manager said his hands were tied - made a call to corporate headquarters, and gave me about 2 seconds to decide if I wanted to be fired or quit. I opted to quit since I have never been fired in my life.

So first question is - does my previous employer have any right to divulge information that involved he and I as friends not as employee/employer? Is he doing something illegal that I can put a stop to? This is a small county and I probably don't have a chance in hell of getting any type of job that I am qualified for. In fact, with his references I couldn't probably even get a job at taco bell.

Secondly, because I was forced to make a snap decision on firing or quitting, I may have jeopardized my chances for unemployment, which I have never applied for before. I am a 42 year old divorced mother of 4 in a small northern California County. Do I have any hope here??


Senior Member
This is not a definitive answer, but if the statements are true, there is nothing to stop those who know from telling. The employer may choose not to disclose, but he can if he wants. You betrayed a trust. I suggest taht to neutralize the issue, you repay what you owe, tell future employers the story, so when they check refeneces (if they want you -- and the job market is still tight -- when they hear the story it does not come as a surprise. You may get fewer offers, but will keep the jobs.

This is intended as general information only and NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You are not my client, and I have no obligation of any kind to you. To retain a lawyer, go to http://AttorneyPages.com

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential