Employment Law Issue: Reference Letter as a Condition of a Settlement Agreement or a Separation Agreement

/cdklawyers.com// 02/12/2011

Certain situations may lead a former employee to ask an employer for a reference letter.  These requests frequently occur when parties settle an employment-related lawsuit or when parties negotiate a separation agreement.  How should an employer respond to these requests?  At a basic level, the employer most likely should respond to these requests the same way it would respond to the request of a departing employee who is not engaged in a dispute with the employer.

In an effort to avoid litigation over reference letters, some employers opt not to provide reference letters to any employee and to verify nothing beyond basic information when contacted by telephone.  If so, an employer likely should not agree to provide a favorable reference letter to a departing employee in a settlement or severance agreement.  Doing so could expose the employer to allegations of discrimination.  On the other hand, an employer who takes a more flexible approach to reference letter requests could agree to draft a letter in accordance with its guidelines; however, the employer may wish to ask employment law counsel to review a draft letter to ensure that the letter does not expose the employer to liability.

To speak to a Dallas, Texas employment law attorney about issues related to the departure of employees, contact the Dallas employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected]


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Clouse Dunn
Khoshbin LLP

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[email protected]