HR Management & Compliance

Does California Restrict the Qualified Privilege for References?

In yesterday’s CED,, we found specifics of the immunity available for giving references in the 50 states. Today, the rules for California and other states with special provisions, again with a nod to our new “50×50” reference guide.

Qualified Privilege with Restrictions

Several states offer a qualified privilege, with restrictions of one kind or another.

AR—reference restricted to:

  1. Dates and duration of employment
  2. Current pay rate and wage history
  3. Job description and duties
  4. Last written performance evaluation
  5. Attendance information
  6. Results of drug or alcohol tests administered within one year before the request
  7. Threats of violence, harassing acts, or threatening behavior related to the workplace or directed at another employee
  8. Whether the employee was voluntarily or involuntarily separated and the reasons for separation
  9. Whether the employee is eligible for rehire

CA—Qualified privilege for communications concerning the job performance or qualifications of job applicants that are based on credible evidence. A writer of a recommendation owes a duty to prospective employers and third persons not to misrepresent the facts in describing the qualifications and character of a former employee if making the recommendation would present a substantial, foreseeable risk of physical injury to the prospective employer or third person. The qualified privilege also permits employers to state, if asked, whether they would rehire someone.

CT—The employer must have the employee’s consent to release more than dates of service, salary, and job title.

KS—Absolute immunity is limited to the topics below as long as the information is provided in writing and in response to a written request from the prospective employer:

  1. Dates of employment
  2. Pay level
  3. Job description and duties
  4. Wage history
  5. Written evaluations
  6. Whether separation was voluntary or involuntary
  7. The reasons for separation

MI—Immunity only for information documented in personnel file.

MN—Offers statutory immunity in some cases.

MT—Immunity for a “truthful statement of the reason for discharge.” On request, must supply employee with a written statement of the reasons for discharge.

ND—Absolute immunity for dates of employment, pay level, job description and duties, and wage history. Limited immunity for further information.

SC—Offers immunity for dates of employment, pay level, and wage history, written employee evaluations, official personnel notices that record the reasons for separation, whether the employee was voluntarily or involuntarily released, and the reasons for separation and information about job performance.

Operate in multiple states? That’s a real compliance challenge, but with “50×50” (50 Employment Laws in 50 States), answers are at your fingertips. Wage/hour? Leave? Child labor? Discrimination? All there in easy-to-read chart form. Get more details.

SD—Offers immunity for references in writing in response to written requests from prospective employers.

WA—Employer must keep a record of the individual or entity to which the information was provided. Within 10 working days of receiving a request from a discharged worker, the employer must furnish a signed statement setting forth the reasons for the discharge.

Giving references—different rules in every state. And of course, that’s not the only rule that changes from state to state—how about pay, leave, breaks? Actually, there are about 4 dozen key laws with important state differences. Where are you going to go to find out about the laws that apply not just to California, but everywhere you do business?

We asked our editors, and they came up with an astounding product: “50×50” (50 Employment Laws in 50 States). Now you can INSTANTLY discover your legal obligations under the 50 most important employment laws … in each of the 50 states.

50 Employment Laws in 50 States, 2012 Edition is the revolutionary guidebook that puts ALL the most need-to-know employment law information—for each of the 50 states—right at your fingertips.

Imagine the time and frustration you’ll save with this authoritative, instant-information reference. In just seconds, you’ll zero in on the precise information you need whenever you must:

    • Create a new policy
    • Verify the compliance of an existing policy
    • Expand your operations
    • Audit your procedures
    • Support recommendations to senior management
    • Advise colleagues at field offices, branches, and stores
    • Stay comfortably up-to-date with increasingly complicated state employment laws

Finally, an easy-to-use state law guide for all 50 states plus DC and Canada! Our “50×50” (50 Employment Laws in 50 States) guide is the authoritative guide to the top 50 state laws in each state. Easy-to-read chart format. No legalese. Just updated for 2012. Get more information here.

With 50 Employment Laws in 50 States, you get the exact guidance you need whenever you need to understand ANY state law concerning:

With 50 Employment Laws in 50 States, you get the exact guidance you need whenever you need to understand ANY state law concerning:

Family and medical leave
Benefits for same-sex partners and common-law spouses
Final paycheck
Vacation/sick pay
Workers’ comp
AIDS testing
Polygraph testing
Genetic testing
Drug-alcohol testing
Off-duty conduct
Tobacco use on the job
Personnel files
Plant closings
Meal and rest breaks 
Health insurance continuation
Pre-employment inquiries
New hire reporting
Affirmative action
Background checks
Credit reports
Arrests and convictions
Pregnancy leave

Small necessities leave
Voting leave
Jury duty leave
Military leave
Employee privacy
Social Security numbers
Unemployment comp
Employment at will
Child labor
Labor organizations
Organizing by public employees
Noncompete agreements
Wage payment
Minimum wage
Payment of commissions
Wage deductions
Direct deposit
Required posters
Title VII equivalents
Other discrimination and harassment laws
State and local equal employment opportunity laws

To make sure your 50 Employment Laws in 50 States remains up to date, we closely monitor changes in employment law in all 50 states. Each year, we’ll rush you a replacement edition on a 30-day-review basis, and bill you at the then-current rate. You pay only if you decide to keep the update.

Bonus: 50 Employment Laws in 50 States has recently been revised and expanded to include Canadian laws.

Get fast answers with this chart-based, 50-state reference guide. Includes all corresponding regulations, statutes, and court cases so you can easily find the source documents if you need to.

Order or get more information.

Download your free copy of How To Survive an Employee Lawsuit: 10 Tips for Success today!