Nebraska References laws & HR compliance analysis

Nebraska 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 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. Nebraska, like many states, has recognized the tort of negligent hiring (Christianson by & through Christianson v. Educational Service Unit No. 16, 501 N.W.2d 281 (1993)). 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. Nebraska is among the states that have enacted reference immunity laws. Employers in Nebraska are protected from liability for furnishing employment information about an employee or former employee to a prospective employer (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-201). Employers must obtain written consent from the employee or former employee before providing information on his or her ...

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