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Old 12-21-2013, 05:53 AM
 
533 posts, read 950,591 times
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Yesterday I overheard my manager speaking on the phone with someone who I'm assuming works in HR at another company about a past employee.

My manager was babbling on about the past employee for a solid 15-20 minutes, talking about the employee's weaknesses, strengths, and everything in between. The overall review of the past employee was positive, but it seemed like she gave the HR person a lot of info. I thought past employers really only confirmed time frame that a person worked there and position title and whether or not the employee had been in trouble? My manager told the HR person about how the past employee has a boyfriend and other random stuff like that got worked into the conversation.

Is this something I should be concerned about in the future when/if I start looking for better opportunities outside of the company I currently work at?
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:23 AM
 
Location: SC
389 posts, read 568,277 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggumbo View Post
Yesterday I overheard my manager speaking on the phone with someone who I'm assuming works in HR at another company about a past employee.

My manager was babbling on about the past employee for a solid 15-20 minutes, talking about the employee's weaknesses, strengths, and everything in between. The overall review of the past employee was positive, but it seemed like she gave the HR person a lot of info. I thought past employers really only confirmed time frame that a person worked there and position title and whether or not the employee had been in trouble? My manager told the HR person about how the past employee has a boyfriend and other random stuff like that got worked into the conversation.

Is this something I should be concerned about in the future when/if I start looking for better opportunities outside of the company I currently work at?
They're allowed to give as much info as they want, as long as it's true. This is a very good example of why it's so important for employees to severely limit what personal info they give out about themselves at work.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:23 AM
 
2,633 posts, read 5,515,509 times
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All perfectly legal, provided it's all true.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:36 AM
 
533 posts, read 950,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisIsMe123 View Post
They're allowed to give as much info as they want, as long as it's true. This is a very good example of why it's so important for employees to severely limit what personal info they give out about themselves at work.
Yeah, it just seems hard to limit what people know about you. Assuming the past employee had worked at the company for a couple years, it would be pretty easy to slowly gain more info on a person. I've been at my new job only a few weeks and I already know that all the girls in the office are married, who has dogs, who has kids, etc.

How do you keep that stuff private? I don't care if my manager knows general things about me, but I'd hate for her to be telling HR people random info about me that could give them the wrong impression.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:40 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 39,766,104 times
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While it is certainly true that an employer can give more information than some seem to think (dates of employment and salary) I'm not sure you can share anything you want just because it is true. The OP mentioned that the person shared information that the person had a boyfriend. I can see this being a problem if the other company was fishing for information on sexual orientation. Is it OK to talk about the employee's religion? Probably not. Even if it is the truth.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:49 AM
 
Location: SC
389 posts, read 568,277 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
While it is certainly true that an employer can give more information than some seem to think (dates of employment and salary) I'm not sure you can share anything you want just because it is true. The OP mentioned that the person shared information that the person had a boyfriend. I can see this being a problem if the other company was fishing for information on sexual orientation. Is it OK to talk about the employee's religion? Probably not. Even if it is the truth.
But would it be actually illegal for one employer to inform another employer of the employee's sexual orientation, religion, marital status, etc. or would it only be illegal for the potential employer to ask these things of the interviewee? Obviously it is illegal to discriminate based on the aforementioned factors, either way. For instance, if the interviewee stupidly let him know, without him even asking her, that she's got 12 kids, he still has the responsibility not to take that fact into account while making a hiring decision, right?
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:49 AM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,130,667 times
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It's also possible that the former employee had asked the manager to be a work reference, and had given him or her permission to speak freely and candidly.

If I am called out of the blue about a former direct report of mine, without any advance warning or notice from my former staffer, I limit my responses to the length of time the person worked there, how long I personally supervised him or her, what their job title was, and (if I still have the information), what their pay rate was.

On the other hand, if one of my former staffers contacts me and says "hey, I'm applying for a such-and-so position with XYZ Company, may I list you as one of my work references," I will go into a whole lot more detail about them when I am called. I'll discuss details of what they did, their work ethic, their accuracy, their teamwork skills, their interpersonal skills, any particular concerns I had about them, and what I think their greatest strengths are.

I should also add that any time I am contacted by a former staffer to whom I would not be able to give a favorable reference, I simply tell them that I'm sorry, I am not able to serve as one of their work references.

So when you hear a manager giving out details about a former employee, yes, there's a possibility that the manager is just being gossipy. But there's a greater likelihood that the former employee asked that manager to provide a reference, and they are doing the same thing that I do for my former direct reports.
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:04 AM
 
9,778 posts, read 16,979,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggumbo View Post
Yesterday I overheard my manager speaking on the phone with someone who I'm assuming works in HR at another company about a past employee.

My manager was babbling on about the past employee for a solid 15-20 minutes, talking about the employee's weaknesses, strengths, and everything in between. The overall review of the past employee was positive, but it seemed like she gave the HR person a lot of info. I thought past employers really only confirmed time frame that a person worked there and position title and whether or not the employee had been in trouble? My manager told the HR person about how the past employee has a boyfriend and other random stuff like that got worked into the conversation.

Is this something I should be concerned about in the future when/if I start looking for better opportunities outside of the company I currently work at?

It is a common misperception that it is illegal to provide anything but dates of employment and that is simply not the case.
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,509 posts, read 6,130,679 times
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Many (but not all) companies do have a policy that references must be given only by HR, and HR will only verify dates of employment, title and salary. That's a decision companies make for their own protection, it is not a law. Every major employer I've worked for in the past 25 years has had that policy. As a result, when asked for references I've always had to either use prior supervisors or coworkers who I know no longer worked at my past employers. Most HR reps understand this. In the case you overheard, I'd have to assume that either the company you work for now doesn't have such a policy, or if they do the manager either isn't aware of it or he's violating it.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:08 AM
MJ7
 
6,221 posts, read 8,640,321 times
Reputation: 6514
its wise to ask your new employer about your references, and what they say about you when they call. they will usually tell you the truth, after all they did hire you. the only reason to feel that you were not hired because of references is to get all that way in the hiring process and then boom, they no longer want to hire you. that would be a red flag...it would be wise to talk to your references and make sure they are giving a great interpretation of your work ethic, moxie and personality.
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