Arizona References laws & HR compliance analysis

Arizona References: What you need to know

Reference checks are a useful way for employers to gather information about applicants that might not be discovered through the application and interview process. However, despite the usefulness of reference checking, many employers are legitimately concerned about lawsuits from former employees based on information provided in response to a request for a reference. This can create a quandary for employers.
Employers are also concerned about liability for the actions of employees where the company failed to conduct a thorough reference check. Arizona, like many states, has recognized the tort of negligent hiring (Kassman v. Busfield Enterprises, Inc., 639 P.2d 353 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1981)). Employers may be liable for intentional or negligent acts of an employee if they knew or should have known of an employee's dangerous propensities. Therefore, employers should be diligent in conducting reference and background checks on new employees, particularly when the job involves contact with the public.
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To deal with employers' reluctance to provide information about former employees, a number of states have enacted laws “immunizing” employers against employee claims over such disclosures. The protections provided by these immunity laws are from claims for defamation of character—libel and slander.
Arizona is among the states that have enacted reference immunity laws. Under Arizona law, employers are immune from civil liability when they in good faith make disclosures at the request of a prospective employer about the reason for termination or the job performance, professional conduct, or evaluation of a current or former employee. A copy of any written communication regarding ...

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