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Re: Letters of Reference Duhon, Lucy C 24 Feb 2004 15:15 UTC

It's interesting to see different viewpoints on this topic because I always thought it was for the opposite reason that this trend was growing.  I understood it this way:  that, epecially in the busines world, an employer may hesitate giving out qualitative references about a potential candidate because that candidate may turn out NOT to be representative of those qualities in their new position.  This has led me to believe that employers are afraid of being sued for something along the lines of "false advertising" ... or maybe they're afraid of having their image tainted by association with a former employee (good or bad)?  (I do know of one company that bases its non-reference policy on this type of reasoning).  Anyway, I've never quite understood it.

Lucy Duhon
Serials Librarian
Carlson Library/Serials Dept.
University of Toledo
Toledo, OH  43606

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-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
[mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU]On Behalf Of Marilyn Miller
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 3:49 PM
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Letters of Reference

I find this thread fascinating since I was not aware that this was
happening in the library world.  I do know why this sort of thing is
happening in general.  Several months ago I was talking with someone who is
job hunting in the business career world.  He told me that he cannot get a
reference from his previous employer because they are not allowed to give
references.  It seems that another former employee in the company sued his
former employer big-time because a bad reference was given and that person
did not get the job because of it.  So the blanket rule was made for
everyone in the company - no references are to be given.  What a shame that
in our litigation-happy world employers cannot obtain references for people
they are interested in hiring!   I will be looking forward to advice people
on this list give to job hunters so that I can pass it along to the
job-hunting person who first told me about this.

Marilyn Miller

At 04:35 PM 2/20/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>I haven't had much luck searching the archives of AUTOCAT or SERIALST on
>this topic, so I thought I'd post to the lists.
>Recently one of my references informed me that the new Human Resources
>policy at his institution restricts him to simply verifying my dates in
>employment when contacted by potential employers.  He suggested that
>because of this I should find an alternative reference in the future.
>I know this restriction is not new to the workplace, but it is the
>first time it has affected me personally and I would like to know how
>other people are handling or would handle this situation -- whether you
>are seeking employment, on a search committee to fill an open position,
>or someone who writes or has written letters of reference (with or
>without this institutional restriction).
>I am also feeling at a loss because this particular reference is the
>only person who can comment upon certain skills that I acquired while
>working at his library (i.e., in my work experience, they were unique to
>that position).
>Thanks in advance for any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations, etc.
>you can give me!
>Karen Nadeski
>Project Cataloger, Connecticut History Online
>Connecticut State Library
>231 Capitol Ave.
>Hartford, CT 06106