ArticleExchanging Honest Employment References Tiptoeing Between Defamation and Negligent HiringMcConnell, Charles R.Author Information Author Affiliations: Health Care Management and Human Resources Consultant, Ontario, New York. Corresponding author: Charles R. McConnell, Human Resources and Health Care Management Consultant, 5943 Walworth Road, Ontario NY 14519 ([email protected]). The Health Care Manager: October 2007 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 363-372 doi: 10.1097/01.HCM.0000299255.29678.19 Buy Metrics Abstract In present day reference checking, many of the same organizations that seek as much information as possible about people they wish to hire resist giving out more than a bare minimum of information to other organizations. The strongest force driving this minimal reference information release is fear of legal action taken because of something said about an individual ("defamation," supposedly). Many employers seem so frightened of being sued for libel or slander that they share nothing of substance, usually not realizing that in supposedly protecting themselves against defamation charges, they are increasing the risk of negligent hiring charges. However, truthful reference information can be provided with minimal risk if it is provided in good faith, given only to those who have a legitimate need to know, is strictly job related, and is not communicated maliciously. References must always be provided objectively with information verifiable in personnel files. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.