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How to respond to an inquiry for employment verification/reason for leaving

When an individual has been terminated for unprofessional behavior or behavior unbecoming a teacher, how do you answer a request for employment verification when asked why the person is no longer employed?

Each school district should have a written policy in place to handle this situation. That policy should be developed after consultation with an attorney who specializes in employment law. If you are the principal, ideally you would be able to refer this matter to the district office or a central HR office.

Many, many employers have the policy that they only give neutral references. Sadly, in many states a former employer is liable if the teacher cannot find employment due to a negative reference…even if the information presented is true. That is why many employers will only verify the dates of employment, whether or not the employee is eligible for rehire, and the salary. Under this policy, the former employer does not volunteer any information — they simply answer *yes* or *no* when the prospective employer asks questions like *Was she employed from September 2002 to May 2009?* and *Did she earn $47,000 per year?* or *Is she rehirable?*

Because of the sensitive nature of this information, again, please consult with an attorney — we do not give legal advice.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 7:40 am and is filed under
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2 Responses to “How to respond to an inquiry for employment verification/reason for leaving”

  1. Damion Cordova Says:

    At our institution we simply respons with employment dates. If asked about the reason for leaving our organization, we tell them that they are more than free to ask the applicant/candidate.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Damion! Excellent point — many, many employers are going to the neutral reference for legal reasons. The problem, of course, is that the employee will simply lie about the reason for termination. For example, an employee who was fired for being drunk at work will say that his position was eliminated. Thanks for your input! ~ Caitlin

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