Job seekers often have to provide contact information for previous employers. State laws govern what former employers may say if they are contacted to verify employment. Florida law does not require employers to provide information beyond that which is publicly available, although they can if they want to.
Florida employers may verify information that is part of the employee's public record. For example, an employer may verify whether or not an employee currently works for the company, the department the employee works for or the dates the employee worked for the department. Employers may also verify an employee's current salary. However, employers may not release Social Security numbers and are not obligated to provide information that is not part of the public record, such as whether the employee left on good terms.
People seeking employment verification in Florida must submit requests in writing or in person. Employers should not honor requests for verification over the telephone, as they cannot verify that the caller has a legitimate request for information. If a caller asks for employment verification, the employer should direct her to make her request in writing. Written requests may be emailed or faxed as well as sent through the regular mail.
Employers in Florida have the right to require background checks as well as to verify employment. Background checks may reveal the names of past employers as well as information about the applicant's criminal history. Employers may contact past employers after finding them on a background check; the past employer is subject to the same limitations on employment verification.
Although employers in Florida are not prohibited from providing additional information about employees, many employers don't do so as a matter of a policy. Florida law does not prohibit employers from providing any information about employees as long as it is truthful; however, employers may be liable if they give negative information in a reference that the employee disputes. Thus, employers may wish to avoid giving extra information to reduce their risk of lawsuit.