Q&A: Giving bad employee references


Q&A: Giving bad employee references

What should I say when someone calls to ask about a former team member?
Nov 01, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

While you may be afraid of a "job reference" lawsuit from a disgruntled employee, references are crucial for potential employers. Why? Because two-thirds of applicants overstate their accomplishments, says Marty Miller, MBA, a human resources consultant with Veterinary Business Advisors in Flemington, N.J. Here are his tips for giving job references and keeping you and your practice out of trouble:

> Develop a reference-check policy that states what information your practice provides and who's allowed to provide it.

> Consider asking that all reference requests be in writing on official letterhead signed by an authorized representative.

> Document requests with dates, names of the former team member and the requesting party, the purpose of the request, and the details you gave. Put that information in the employee's personnel folder.

> Verify that the employee has consented to your releasing information. If you don't have such a statement on file at your practice, have the former employee sign a separate authorization form.

> Ask employees before they leave whether they want a neutral reference or a truthful substantive reference.

> If the employee asks for a neutral reference, tell the requesting party that the employee asked for such.

> If you must lay off employees, provide them with standard letters of recommendation. State that the layoff doesn't speak to the employee's job performance.

> Provide accurate and verifiable facts you provide are accurate and verifiable. "A reference check isn't the forum to provide opinions about the former employee," Miller says. Truth is the best defense if an employee ever files a job-reference lawsuit against you.

Hot topics on dvm360

Dog of Dallas Ebola patient will not be euthanized, authorities say

Health officials have quarantined and will monitor dog and amid concerns surrounding deadly virus.

Video: How to perform a belt-loop gastropexy

Prevent GDV in your at-risk patients with this simple technique.

Stretch your skills to earn more in veterinary practice

Finding new tasks could be the key to generating more income for your practice—and boosting your pay.

Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death

Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Study shows sustained salary slump for veterinary support staff

Since 2009, technicians paid by the hour have experienced a bump in pay, but pay for other team members has stayed stagnant, according to data from the 2014 Firstline Career Path Study. Here’s a look at changes in team pay from 2009 to 2013.