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Employment Reference Protection Becomes Law

Fall 1996

Our Labor & Employment Practice Group would be happy to assist you with any questions relating to this article.

The governor recently signed into law Section 895.487 of the Wisconsin statutes which provides immunity from civil liability for employers who, in good faith, provide employment references concerning a current or former employee. This new law, which became effective in July, offers statutory protection to employers who provide employment references.

The law confirms that an employer who provides a reference to a prospective employer is presumed to be acting in good faith. Unless lack of good faith is shown by clear and convincing evidence, the employer will be immune from all civil liability that may result from providing that reference.

Employers are cautioned, however, to give references so as to avoid unnecessary litigation. While some protection may be gained in defending an action resulting from providing a reference, nothing prohibits a disgruntled employee from filing an action in the first place.

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