Job Reference and Blacklisting Laws

The two North Carolina labor laws on giving job references and on the blacklisting of an employee are the “Immunity from civil liability for employers disclosing information (Job Reference)" law (N.C.G.S. §1-539.12) and the "Blacklisting Employees" law (N.C.G.S. §14-355). The North Carolina Department of Labor does not administer or enforce either law. Therefore, you will have to consult with a private attorney for information. If you do not have an attorney or know of one to contact, you may contact the North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service at 919-677-8574 (Raleigh/Cary) or toll-free (NC only) 1-800-662-7660. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal advice thru a Legal Aid of North Carolina office in your area. To locate a Legal Aid office in your area, go to the Legal Aid’s web site. Here are these two laws for your information:


§ 1-539.12. Immunity from civil liability for employers disclosing information.

(a) An employer who discloses information about a current or former employee's job history or job performance to a prospective employer of the current or former employee upon request of the prospective employer or upon request of the current or former employee is immune from civil liability and is not liable in civil damages for the disclosure or any consequences of the disclosure. This immunity shall not apply when a claimant shows by a preponderance of the evidence both of the following:
(1) The information disclosed by the current or former employer was false.
(2) The employer providing the information knew or reasonably should have known that the information was false.
(b) For purposes of this section, "job performance" includes:
(1) The suitability of the employee for re-employment;
(2) The employee's skills, abilities, and traits as they may relate to suitability for future employment; and
(3) In the case of a former employee, the reason for the employee's separation.(c) The provisions of this section apply to any employee, agent, or other representative of the current or former employer who is authorized to provide and who provides information in accordance with the provisions of this section. For the purposes of this section, "employer" also includes a job placement service but does not include a private personnel service as defined in G.S. 95-47.1 or a job listing service as defined in G.S. 95-47.19 except as provided hereinafter.  The provisions of this section apply to a private personnel service as defined in G.S, 95-47.1 and a job listing service as defined in G.S. 95-47.19 only to the extent that the service conveys information derived from credit reports, court records, educational records, and information furnished to it by the employee or prior employers and the service identifies the source of the information.(d) This section does not affect any privileges or immunities from civil liability established by another section of the General Statutes or available at common law. (1997-478, s.1.)



§ 14-355. Blacklisting employees.

If any person, agent, company or corporation, after having discharged any employee from his or its service, shall prevent or attempt to prevent, by word or writing of any kind, such discharged employee from obtaining employment with any other person, company or corporation, such person, agent or corporation shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00); and such person, agent, company or corporation shall be liable in penal damages to such discharged person, to be recovered by civil action. This section shall not be construed as prohibiting any person or agent of any company or corporation from furnishing in writing, upon request, any other person, company or corporation to whom such discharged person or employee has applied for employment, a truthful statement of the reason for such discharge. (1909, c. 858, s. 1; C.S., s.4477; 1993, c. 539, s. 235; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

For more information about workplace rights, please contact our toll free number at 1-800-NC-LABOR (800-625-2267).