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How to Give a Reference for an Employee You Fired March 4, 2011

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Social Media.

Dismissing an employee is a stressful and challenging task. Unfortunately, the difficulties don’t always end when he’s out the door. Employees, even those you let go, may ask you for references. Here is what to do in those situations:

  • Verify information. Check the former employee’s file before giving a reference to ensure that you state just the facts.
  • Keep it short. Whether you’re writing a reference letter or providing a phone reference, limit the amount of information you offer. This will reduce your chances of saying anything that could be perceived as defamatory.
  • Keep it factual. Limit your responses to factual information: dates of employment, title, salary, and other objective data.
  • Remember, both you and your company could face ongoing liability issues. Stick to the facts and keep your opinions out of it.

I have seen some totally unprofessional approaches companies have taken with their dismissed employees. Their lack of professionalism is a quick indication of their lacking management skills, not to mention a serious lack of understanding regarding ongoing liabilities. If you find yourself in such a situation, and you will, be mindful of how you handle it. Remember your response reflects back on both yourself and your organization. And for a small business, your reputation is very important to your survival.

Joe Buck, NCE

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