On June 28, 2016, the Third Circuit ruled in favor of employers who sought a conditional privilege when providing employee references to other employers. In Bentlejewski v. Werner Enterprises Inc., No. 15-2870, 2016 WL 3523303, at *1 (3d Cir. June 28, 2016), Defendant sent Plaintiff’s prior accident and driving report to two prospective employers. In the report, there were four “preventable” minor accidents noted, which prevented Plaintiff’s employment at the two trucking companies. Plaintiff then filed suit, alleging those driving reports contained “false and misleading” information, which prevented him from obtaining employment.
The Court recognized that employers have a conditional privilege to provide prospective employers with honest references concerning a former employee. In order to show an employer abused this privilege, a former employee must show the employer knowingly provided false information. It is not enough that an employer simply provided false information.