Writing a reference letter?

A great site on employment law, Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home, has some legal information about letters of reference.

Can They Really Say That? What Employers Can Say About You When Giving References


The truth is that employers can give any truthful information they want about your performance. Defamation is where your employer or former employer makes a false statement of fact about you to someone other than you that damages your reputation.

Some states have statutes protecting employers who give job references to some extent, but even then the employer generally can’t give out knowingly false information. A statement that you were an embezzler, ponzi schemer, or pedophile, made when the person giving the reference knew it was false, will probably not be protected.

A few states actually require employers to provide a letter of reference up on request. What has to be in that letter varies from state to state, but it usually includes job title, dates of employment, salary and/or reason for leaving or termination.

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