Reference checks by prior attornes I worked for - what can/can't they say?

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SpazzySpaz in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

68 months ago

Hello, I had participated in these forums about a year ago and can't remember what my user name was :) I will have to figure it out. Anyway, over a year ago I was fired from my paralegal position. I have never been let go from any law firm. I was let go b/c I was "not a good fit" - more like I couldn't please the attorney I worked for. Oh, he was so nice to the clients and the public, but just awful to me. My skin just wasn't thick enough.

I have been a contractor at a major company since then and my contract is ending. I've decided to apply to some firms that I hope do not deal with his firm. I am hoping I can find a good one. Getting a general admin job now would just not happen - there are way too many applicants.

I know lawyers talk. I know they talk more than they should. I am concerned about reference checks. This firm does not have an H.R. department. I know legally references are to only give dates of employment and job title. Is it legal for the prospective employer to ask if they would hire me back or why I left? I know the prior attorney can say that he let me go, albeit not very ethical or possibly legal, but how do I handle this? I am very concerned.

A friend of mine was going to call as a prospective employer for me and determine what he would say. I don't want to take the position off of my resume, either, as everyone can know everyone and I don't want to lie.

Any assistance would be helpful. Thanks!

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SpazzySpaz in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

68 months ago

"Employers can say anything they want about former employees. Whether it's smart for them to do so is the issue."

I agree. I don't plan on any type of legal action - that is just not worth it - but I was wondering what technically can be asked and what "legally" should be said.

I'm running out of job options and since I have the experience, I have to try to get back into the field or I will be unemployed for a long time...I probably couldn't even start the taco stand that I wanted. (I found my old user name -- dingdong).

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