Employment Reference Checks and Verifications (WA State)

Employment Reference Checks and Verifications (WA State)

Under Washington State laws, what are employer limitations when disclosing employee information in response to employment reference checks and verifications? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


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IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL/CRIMINAL LIABILITY -- PRESUMPTION OF GOOD FAITH

Under Washington State law, if an employer discloses information to a prospective employer or employment agency (see RCW 49.60.040) concerning a current or former employee--and that disclosure was specifically requested by the prospective employer or employment agency--then the disclosing employer "is presumed to be acting in good faith and is immune from civil and criminal liability for such disclosure or its consequences if the disclosed information relates to: 

(a) The employee's ability to perform his or her job; 

(b) the diligence, skill, or reliability with which the employee carried out the duties of his or her job; or

(c) any illegal or wrongful act committed by the employee when related to the duties of his or her job.

RCW 4.24.730(1) (paragraph formatting added).

WRITTEN RECORDS

An employer that discloses employee information pursuant to this section (RCW 4.24.730) to a prospective employer or employment agency "should retain a written record of the identity of the person or entity to which information is disclosed under this section for a minimum of two years from the date of disclosure." RCW 4.24.730(2) (emphasis added).

"The employee or former employee has a right to inspect any such written record upon request and any such written record shall become part of the employee's personnel file, subject to the provisions of chapter 49.12 RCW." RCW 4.24.730(2) (emphasis added).

REBUTTING THE PRESUMPTION OF GOOD FAITH

To rebut the presumption of good faith under this section (RCW 4.24.730), there must be "a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the employer was knowingly false, deliberately misleading, or made with reckless disregard for the truth." RCW 4.24.730(3) (emphasis added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group; please see our DISCLAIMER.

–gw

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