Am I legally allowed to give out termination dates?

I am the accounting manager and HR person in our office. A lady called me and wanted to know the termination date of a former employee. I asked who was calling and she didn’t want to give her name or organization. Am I legally allowed to give out termination dates to anyone who calls or asks?

Posted  07-02-2014

Ann Kiernan replies:

As a general rule, you shouldn’t give information to someone who refuses to identify herself or tell you why she was inquiring, so you showed good judgment here.

As far as I am aware, responding to a reference check with truthful information about the dates of employment is legal in every state, even those like Minnesota, which have statutes strictly regulating the information that employers can release even without the employee’s consent. (See Minnesota Statutes section 181.967, for example)

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.