Washington State Law provides protection for an employer who responds to a prospective employer's request for reference information about a current or former employee. (Supervisors of student employees or former employees must check with Student Employment before providing reference information relating to students). The law states that the employer providing the reference is presumed to be acting in good faith and is immune from civil and criminal liability so long as the disclosed information relates to:
NOTE: Questions/queries of an employment verification (pay, title, dates of employment, etc.) must be forwarded to the Payroll Office first. Payroll will ensure that proper authorization is received before providing the requested information. The reference information will be returned once the employment verification is completed.
The presumption of good faith can only be rebutted if a current or former employee can show by clear and convincing evidence that information the employer disclosed was knowingly false, deliberately misleading, or made with reckless disregard for the truth. An employing official may decline to respond to a work reference request for a current or former employee. However if reference information is provided, the law states that a supervisor or manager who provides it should retain a written record in te employee's personnel file of the identity of the person or entity to which reference information is disclosed for a minimum of two years from the date of disclosure. An employee or former employee has a right to inspect the written record upon request.
Your unit's Human Resource's Consultant is available to discuss questions regarding the kind of information that should be provided during employment reference checks.