Can a new employer ask me for a record of employment from a previous employer?
The following article with a contribution by Julie Labrie was published in the Globe and Mail on July 21, 2019.
NINE TO FIVE
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Can a new employer ask me for a record of employment (ROE) from a previous employer? I was offered employment, then asked for an ROE. The new employer said to block out confidential info so I blocked out the reason for leaving. During the interview, I said I quit but I was terminated from my last job and I didn’t want the new employer to see that. They asked me to resend the ROE without blocking out the reason for leaving. Then they told me I lied during my interview about saying I quit instead of being terminated. So they decided to no longer continue with the hiring process. I believe it was because I was terminated and not because I lied about it. Am I wrong?
THE SECOND ANSWER
Julie Labrie, President, BlueSky Personnel Solutions, Toronto
From a recruitment perspective, this is not common practice. Legally, too, I’ve confirmed with Natalie MacDonald, a leading Toronto-based employment lawyer and founder of MacDonald & Associates, that prospective employers are not entitled to ask for ROEs, as they may contain confidential information, which is protected through privacy laws.
The back and forth requests to block and then unblock confidential information is also very strange. If you think you weren’t offered the job based on your ROE, you may have a civil or human-rights claim, so it could be worthwhile to speak to an employment lawyer.
It’s also worth dispelling two common myths here.
First, many job seekers fear that if they’ve been let go, no one will want to hire them. This is a myth. Hiring managers recognize that the fit may not have been right, or business needs could have changed. Any number of factors could have been at play. They generally won’t hold such dismissals against a jobseeker.
Second, in contrast, even tiny fibs by jobseekers are universally frowned upon and can lead to job offers being rescinded. Beyond HR protocols, remember, nothing is ever really “off the record.” You never know who your prospective employer knows. Your new boss could be old friends with colleagues from your previous job and the truth could surface in the most casual conversations.
The lesson for next time: Your best bet is to always be upfront and honest during your job search.
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To continue reading the first answer (for subscribers), please visit: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/careers/career-advice/article-record-of-employment/