Mississippi References laws & HR compliance analysis

Mississippi References: What you need to know

Reference checks are a useful way for employers to gather information about applicants that they might not discover 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, and liability for the actions of employees where the company failed to conduct a thorough reference check. This creates 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. Mississippi, like many states, has recognized the tort of negligent hiring (Thacer v. Brennan, 657 F.Supp.6, 10 (S.D. Miss. 1986)). 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.
For a Limited Time receive a FREE HR Report on the "Critical HR Recordkeeping”.  This exclusive special report covers hiring records, employment relationships, termination records, litigation issues, electronic information issues, tips for better recordkeeping, and a list of legal requirements.  Download Now
Employers may be reluctant to provide any negative information in a reference for fear that their former employee will file a defamation of character claim. On the other hand, in Mississippi, employers have a duty to exercise due care in hiring employees, and can be held liable for an employee's negligence if they knew or should have known of the employee's incompetence (Doe v. Pontotoc County School District, 957 So.2d 410 (Miss. Ct. App. 2007)). References can provide important information about a prospective employee's ability to perform a job. To deal with this conundrum, a number of states have enacted ...

Read more about References