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employment verification

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I worked for a city from 1982 to 1991. I left the job in very good standing. I happened to live in the same city, and seven years after I quit that job, I got involved in a political situation that turned into a very nasty mess. The administration at that time was doing some unethical and illegal things, and I got involved in a group that was trying to put a stop to it. Because I was a former employee, apparently they thought I had some kind of inside information that made me a particularly big threat to them, and they went after me with a vengeance. To try to make a long story short, after two years of a lot of unbelievable stuff, we managed to get the mayor and every council member involved out of office, along with the police chief and some of his officers who were involved in these questionable activities. The only person involved that we were not able to get rid of was the city secretary. Twice during this period of time, I made public information requests for my personnel file (thinking God only knew what they might have put in it). Both times I was told that my file had been lost, and both times I took copies of all the records I had relating to my employment with the city to them, and they supposedly made a new file for me. Now, over a year after we moved out of this city, I am looking for a new job. I expected that when a company called to verify my employment with the city, they might be told that my file had been lost, so a friend who owns a business called to try to verify my employment. She was told by this city secretary, “I will not discuss anything having to do with ‘my name’". That was it. She would not give any verification at all. My question: Can she do this legally? Obviously, a response like this would be taken negatively by a potential employer. What can I do? I have had to put my employment search on hold until I can figure out how to handle this. I live in Texas. Thank you for any help you can give me.




You do seem to be in a pickle. I am wondering if you have not been the victim of blackballing (aka blacklisting) by the city. As you know, that is patently unlawful.

It is odd that the city will not discuss your past employment there by at least confirming it. Very odd indeed.

I would urge you to speak with an employment law attorney that regularly handles public employee type cases. I restricted my practice to representing only private employees. The laws and procedures for the two are quite different. Plus, the very successful attorneys in this area are quite good at fighting and knowing the games that are played.

You should be able to find one near you at attorneypages.com

Mark B. Replogle



[This message has been edited by smileyhapy (edited October 16, 2000).]

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