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Employment Practices - Part 2

A Washington court ruled that a school was not liable on the basis of "negligent misrepresentation" for not disclosing in letters of recommendation that a former employee had been reprimanded for inappropriate behavior.

Key point 8-23. A reference letter is a letter that evaluates the qualifications and suitability of a person for a particular position. Churches, like other employers, often use reference letters to screen new employees and volunteers. Churches often are asked to provide reference letters on current or former workers. The law generally provides employers with important protections when responding to a reference letter request. However, liability may still arise in some cases, such as if the employer acts with malice in drafting a reference letter.

* A Washington court ruled that a school was not liable on the basis of "negligent misrepresentation" for not disclosing in letters of recommendation that a former employee had been reprimanded for inappropriate behavior with minors and had been arrested on three counts of child molestation. A man ("Jesse") was employed as a janitor by "School ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • May 1, 2003

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