An Employee May be Able to Sue a Former Employer for a Bad Reference

  • Over 100 Years of Experience

    Our dedicated attorneys have a reputation for success.

    Meet Our Team
  • Our Awards Set Us Apart

    Learn about our distinguishing awards & how this benefits you.

    What It Means For You
  • Client Testimonials

    Many satisfied clients have used Schwartz Perry & Heller.

    What They Have to Say
  • Request Your Consultation

    Contact our firm today to learn how we can help you.

    Get Started Now

An Employee May be Able to Sue a Former Employer for a Bad Reference

A former employer who gives a former employee a negative job reference in retaliation for the employee's complaint of discrimination may be liable under the human rights law.

In Jute v. Hamilton Sunstrand Corp., 420 F .3d 166, 178-79 (2d Cir. 2005), the plaintiff was on the verge of obtaining a new job. Before she was offered the job, however, her former employer told the new job that he could not give a reference because Jute "had a lawsuit pending," even though the plaintiff did not actually have a lawsuit pending. The Second Circuit, the federal appeals court in New York, held that this false statement could "negatively affect Jute's chances of securing employment" and denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the case.

Other courts since that time have also confirmed that individuals may assert a claim against former employers who, in an effort to retaliate against the employee's claim, give a negative reference. For example, in Brescia V. Sia, 2008 WL 1944010, at *4 n.3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 30, 2008), the court rejected the defendant's effort to dismiss the plaintiff's case under similar circumstances, finding that even where the negative reference is "factually accurate," an individual may have a claim.

Contact Us

Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP
New York Employment Law Attorney
Located at: 3 Park Ave.,
27th Floor,

New York, NY 10016
View Map
Phone: (646) 490-0221
Local Phone: (212) 889-6565
© 2018 All Rights Reserved.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.