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My most recent employer has been giving me a bad reference to new potential employers. I was offered a position, with a start date, and received a withdraw call 2 days prior to the start date. They stated it was because of my negative review from my most recent practice.

I worked there for 5 years, and it is my most recent position, so I have to keep it on my resume. Do I have to put the main office manager on my resume, or can I put a department manager as my reference? The department manager that I would like to use as a reference was not my direct manager, but she is a manager who saw my work and skills.

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    Depending in your location, this may need to go to an employment lawyer. Please tag for country and or state. Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 18:49
  • It is not illegal, but it may be cause for damages to you if your allegations are accurate. Get a lawyer and see what they can do to help you. Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 20:03
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    Related, if not a dupe: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/23642/45671
    – Herb
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 22:01
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    They want to get feedback from someone in a supervisory position who has knowledge of your work habits. Departmental manager might not be good enough for some, might be okay for others. If you have a previous direct supervisor, that's usually fine. Keep in mind, you get to pick your references. While not ideal, I've gone with "I have no supervisory references for you," especially when I made the transition to IT and none of my previous supervisors were actually had IT technical skills, themselves (new employers wanted a supervisor who could also assess my technical chops). Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 13:48
  • Is the bad review malicious or is it simply a reflection of your work/behaviour? It makes a big difference.
    – user
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 14:44

2 Answers 2

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Tell your prospective employers that your old employer is potentially committing libel/slander. Also inform your prospective employer that you have positive experiences with previous employers and would ask that your prospective employer contact the postive old employers instead.

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This practice in the United States opens the former employer to liability for slander and a potential tortuous interference with a contract lawsuit. I'd speak with an employment attorney.

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