What can I do if I think a former employer is preventing potential employers from hiring me?
Dear Nancy replies:
You didn’t include any details about why you think your former employer is preventing potential new employers from hiring you. Thinking the former employer is doing or saying something to prevent you from being hired isn’t going to get you a resolution. You need specifics if you are going to pursue any legal actions.
As has been mentioned before in this column, if your state allows you to obtain a copy or review your personnel records, it would be a good first step in evaluating what is in your personnel file. If no other documentation is available, there should be a separation form as to why you no longer work there (i.e. termination, resignation). Listed on the form is usually a place to indicate whether the employee would be rehired or not. If a designation of no-hire is present, at least this would tell you what the former employer is telling prospective employers.
A second possibility is to see if you can check with former colleagues to determine if they know of anything being said about you no longer being employed there. Sometimes, there is quite a bit of sharing of information among current employees when an employee is no longer working at a facility. Keep in mind, though, the employees may be reluctant to talk with you for fear of retaliation by the employer. Keep in mind the information they share with you may or may not be true.