New Mexico References laws & HR compliance analysis

New Mexico 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 catch-22 for employers.
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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 immunity laws generally provide protection from claims for defamation of character.
New Mexico is among the states that have enacted a reference immunity law. New Mexico employers are presumed to be acting in good faith when, upon request from a prospective employer or current or former employee, the employer provides information to the prospective employer about the current or former employee's job performance (NM Stat. Sec. 50-12-1). The presumption of good faith can be rebutted and result in loss of immunity if it is shown that the employer disclosed the information knowing that it was false, with the intent to deliberately mislead the prospective employer, with malicious purpose, or in violation of any civil rights laws. However, an employee cannot rebut the presumption of good faith by simply claiming without proof that an employer's response to a reference request was false. Additionally, a comparison with other employees' evaluations cannot alone provide a basis for finding that ...

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