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 (NE Rev. Stat. Sec. 48-201). Employers must obtain written consent from the employee or former employee before providing information on his or her employment history. The types of information about employees and former employees that employers can share with prospective employers include:
• Dates and duration of employment;
• Pay rate and wage history;
• Job description and duties;
• The most recent written performance evaluation provided to the employee;
• Attendance information;
• Drug and alcohol test results received within 1 year before the reference request;
• Threats of violence, harassing acts, or threatening behavior related to the workplace or directed at another employee;
• Whether termination was voluntary or involuntary and the reasons for termination; and
• Whether the employee is eligible for rehire.
Under the law, employers are presumed to be acting in good faith when they provide references. This presumption can be overcome by a showing that the information provided by the employer was false and the employer knew it was false or acted with malice or reckless disregard for the truth. Additionally, employers are not immune from liability if the employer ...