I'm working as a freelancer. My last job was done remotely, halfway around the planet. That has some major communication issues. This combined with with other issues in the workplace led to the contract being terminated early. My client refused to pay, and in the end I had to get a lawyer to get half of it.
After this I took some time off to work on my own projects, and now I'm looking for new contracts.
But recruiters I speak to ask for references, and usually the last workplace or 3. Without knowing the context, I would not blame them for thinking twice when I tell them "We had to quit that early because we couldn't communicate, and after this I sent my lawyer to them. But sure, here's their number".
Can I tell them about this situation, or should I refer them to my employer before this bad one, or just decline?