Ohio Employers Are Immune from Liability for Providing Job References
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 4113.71(B), an employer who receives a request by an employee or a prospective employer to disclose information pertaining to the job performance of that employee and who discloses the information is not liable in damages in a civil action to that employee, the prospective employer, or any other person for any harm sustained as a result of making the disclosure or of any information disclosed.
However, immunity does not protect the disclosing employer if the employee establishes either or both of the following:
- That the employer disclosed particular information with the knowledge that it was false, with the deliberate intent to mislead the prospective employer or another person, in bad faith, or with malicious purpose;
- That the disclosure of particular information by the employer constitutes an unlawful discriminatory practice under Ohio Revised Code Sections 4112.02 , 4112.021 , or 4112.022 of the Revised Code.
Employees must be cautious in bringing claims to challenge this immunity however. If a court or jury decision is made in favor of the defendant-employer, and the claim is determined to be frivolous, the court may require the employee to pay the reasonable attorney's fees and court costs of the defendant-employer.