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How do you handle a bad reference from a previous employer?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So, as part of my effort to find a woman in my family a teaching job, I need to figure this out. Short version of the story: She moved to the county that I'm living in in 06. Started at a new school there after a workman's comp claim forced her out of the county that she'd been teaching in for 22 years. Things go ok at new school, no major complaints. Then, in 08, principal retires. New principal seems to hate her guts and goes on a subversive mission to get her fired. Its not easy to get rid of a teacher in FL and requires a shit ton of paperwork. Bogus complaints, poor reviews, etc.. The union down here is completely worthless so she really couldn't fight most of this crap. Ends up with her getting laid off and being "non-reappointed". This is a giant label that ='s fired. So, now when she goes on interviews, she believes that this principal is also sandbagging her with a poor reference. I do not believe that this is everything involved in her inability to get hired but I think it might be a portion. Any suggestions as to how to deal with a crappy reference from your old job?
post #2 of 21
I would speak directly to the present principle and cordially ask WTF. Using the retired principle as a reference may hep. Good luck.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by shademore View Post
I would speak directly to the present principle and cordially ask WTF. Using the retired principle as a reference may help. Good luck.

Strongly agree with the bolded part.
post #4 of 21
Just ask the previous principal for a reference and state that your most immediate previous employer parted company on poor terms. I told my last boss she was worthless and useless, it still only took me 3 days to get a new job.
post #5 of 21
I don't believe that's legal in the US.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter View Post
I don't believe that's legal in the US.

Agreed; this is illegal in most states and is grounds for a lawsuit of both the former employer and the company that they worked for. Such blatant stupidity can also lay the groundwork for a civil suit if this has happened enough times to enough people.

Check the local laws, Rambo, because even if states where it's no explicitly illegal, most companies that are run by intelligent people who will shy away from even the threat of a lawsuit. If they stepped over the line, the ball's in the other court.
post #7 of 21
You guys are referring to how his sister was fired correct? Wasn't sure how that applied to using the retired principal as a reference instead of the current, sucky one.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorjerry1965 View Post
Agreed; this is illegal in most states and is grounds for a lawsuit of both the former employer and the company that they worked for. Such blatant stupidity can also lay the groundwork for a civil suit if this has happened enough times to enough people.

Check the local laws, Rambo, because even if states where it's no explicitly illegal, most companies that are run by intelligent people who will shy away from even the threat of a lawsuit. If they stepped over the line, the ball's in the other court.

This is good to hear. I've had bosses in the past that I would rather hide my 2 years of experience with them than risk new employer asking about them.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteslashasian View Post
You guys are referring to how his sister was fired correct? Wasn't sure how that applied to using the retired principal as a reference instead of the current, sucky one.

While it is true that giving poor reviews is potentially grounds for a suit (tortious interference?) in theory, good luck proving it. You'll have to lawyer up at great xpense and hope things go your way. At this point there's not even any evidence showing the old employer has said anything.
post #10 of 21
If the old employer was speaking documented fact, then how is it illegal?
post #11 of 21
So I looked at the resume with my wife and we both came to the conclusion that she is more than likely going to find a new line of work. I didn't say this before b/c I figured it could do more harm than good. I'm not sure you should even tell her that, it could just create problems between you and your aunt. I would think very hard before you relay any of what I'm now posting. Most principles want 2 generic types of teachers: 1) A young moldable teacher who is going to be a team player. 2) A teacher who has excellent qualifications who can fill the role of a leader or a senior position. Something else she has going against her is a teacher who taught as long as she did is going to be 25%-40% more expensive than a brand new teacher, especially with her advanced degrees. This is actually a huge factor she is going to have to deal with. Start doing searches on the net about the difficulties older teachers are having finding jobs. Again there is really not much she can do to change this, that is part of the reason I didn't send this in my PM. If you want me to edit my post for any reason just let me know.

The jumping around of some of the positions she held were a red flag we picked up on and assumed what you posted is what happened.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
While it is true that giving poor reviews is potentially grounds for a suit (tortious interference?) in theory, good luck proving it. You'll have to lawyer up at great xpense and hope things go your way. At this point there's not even any evidence showing the old employer has said anything.
Bingo. Its almost impossible to prove discrimination unless there was some extremely over action taken by the employer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
If the old employer was speaking documented fact, then how is it illegal?
Its not illegal. Just extremely shitty.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhowie View Post
So I looked at the resume with my wife and we both came to the conclusion that she is more than likely going to find a new line of work. I didn't say this before b/c I figured it could do more harm than good. I'm not sure you should even tell her that, it could just create problems between you and your aunt. I would think very hard before you relay any of what I'm now posting. Most principles want 2 generic types of teachers: 1) A young moldable teacher who is going to be a team player. 2) A teacher who has excellent qualifications who can fill the role of a leader or a senior position. Something else she has going against her is a teacher who taught as long as she did is going to be 25%-40% more expensive than a brand new teacher, especially with her advanced degrees. This is actually a huge factor she is going to have to deal with. Start doing searches on the net about the difficulties older teachers are having finding jobs. Again there is really not much she can do to change this, that is part of the reason I didn't send this in my PM. If you want me to edit my post for any reason just let me know. The jumping around of some of the positions she held were a red flag we picked up on and assumed what you posted is what happened.
Don't edit your post. I really appreciate your honesty and I've come to many of the same conclusions myself. She makes roughly $65k so its a much greater expense for the districts than someone right out of graduate school making $40. I can't tell her straight out that it might not happen for her, mostly because it would completely devastate her. The position jumping around happened in the previous county and was related to a poor principal (again, someone new who came in and wanted rid of her I believe). Two of her former principal's are retired and the rest, I assume, are no problems on the reference front. Its only this current principal who's the (assumed) problem. She has two major factors going against a career change: 1) she's only 5 years from making 30 and getting her pension, and 2) she really knows nothing else. She's been teaching since I was a baby and that's all she does. No life outside of teaching, no social circle, no nothing. Its very very sad but its the way she's done it. Can't really do much to change that now.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter View Post
I don't believe that's legal in the US.

Depending on your state, it's probably not "illegal", but it could give rise to a lawsuit for defamation, which is why many former employers make it policy not to speak about past employees other than to confirm periods of employment.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by shademore View Post
I would speak directly to the present principle and cordially ask WTF. Using the retired principle as a reference may hep. Good luck.

More like her attorney should talk to the principal. If the Union is useless, she could make enough noise to get his ass bagged.
post #15 of 21
The best advice I can give you so she can get back in is to sub. She needs to get to know exactly what a school is looking for and subbing is the best way to do this.
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