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Can a past employee control what a former employer says?

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Last week we established that former employers are allowed to say anything about past employees if it is factual.

Today we look at how past employees could control as much as possible what former employers say about them.

Let’s begin with the no comment policy. If you have left a company with a non-disclosure policy, there are a couple things you could to do ensure that you are not negatively affected by the policy.

1. Contact a couple people at the company and ask if they will be able to do you a personal favour and serve as a character reference.

2. Make sure to mention on your application that company x has a non-disclosure policy. However, Mr X or Ms Y is willing to provide a character reference on your behalf. By doing this, you shield the prospective employer from the unpleasant no comment experience and provide them with alternative persons within that company who they can get information from if they so desire.

Control as much as you can.

If you are confronted with a situation that you know will end in you being terminated with cause, it may be in your best interest to opt to resign. Being terminated with cause means that you have given your employer reason to terminate you and you are therefore not eligible for severance.

By opting to resign your position, you are taking control of situation. With this I mean, if you allow yourself to be terminated, it means that a letter outlining the reason for the termination will be written and a copy will be placed on your file for future reference. It also means that the reason for your termination will be known throughout the company and that fact will be shared with prospective employers when they call.

However, if you opt to resign, the copy of the resignation letter will be on file and when a prospective employer calls, he/she will be told you resigned your position. People always ask why someone was terminated but rarely why did someone resigned.

Finally, be careful when trying to coordinate what you plan to say about a previous job. Nothing sounds off warning alarms for HR managers quite so loudly as when you and a previous employer have different stories to tell about your tenure.

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