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Bad Job Reference

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WSVN -- Remember the kid in school who not only loved science class but was really good at it?

It might have been Steven Rohrbough.

Steven Rohrbough: "But yes, I was the one who grew up with the chemistry sets and the biology things, and was very interested in that type of field."

Today, Steven is an Analytical Chemist. A field he loves, but a field right now he misses.

Steven Rohrbough: "And they laid off 2/3 of the Miami site due to business being slow unfortunately, I was one of them."

The husband and father of two has been looking for work and one of his references used to be in management at his old company.

Steven Rohrbough: "And when I talked to her she seemed like a friend."

But Steven found out she was not at friend when a potential employer told him they were ready to hire him after they did a background check, and then,.

Steven Rohrbough: "And I received a letter that said based on the background check they were not in a position to hire me."

Steven got a copy of the background check. The reference he thought was a friend had skewered him.

Steven Rohrbough: "Everything looked good. My other references were wonderful and this one person just destroyed me in every way. Said the worst of things, no motivation, no productivity, falsification of data, corruption of data."

Steven then found out from other former co-workers that the person had been fired from their old company and was not a happy camper.

Steven Rohrbough: "I have heard her do this to other people and I don't think she is very stable."

Steven then called the woman to ask her why she was making up the remarks about him.

Steven Rohrbough: "Absolutely denied it and she was going to sue me for saying so."

But the background check said she had said it and even though Steven and other references say its not true, the damage is done.

Steven Rohrbough: "And what I can do to someone that would do such a horrific thing. I would definitely like something to be done about this."

Well Howard, if someone gives false information during a background check that costs you a job, can you do anything about it?

Howard Finkelstein: "Yes you can. Stephen can sue the person who he says lied about him. To win, he has to prove that they knew it was a lie and still spread it. To do that, Steven would just bring in other office people who could prove that she knew she wasn't telling the truth."

We contacted the woman who had given Steven the reference. She denied saying the comments that are in the background check. She also said she thought the information was confidential and did not give the company permission to share it with Steven. Then she told us she never said anything except that Steven was late to work a few times.

Howard says, remember, if your former boss or even co-workers are called they can talk about you.

Howard Finkelstein: "If a new employer calls your old boss, they can talk about you. But they have a right and a duty to tell the whole truth. Good and bad, but it all has to be the truth."

When Steven applies for his next job he will drop the woman from his list of references and says he needs another job soon, because he is running out of money.

Steven Rohrbough: "Many thousands of dollars and I can't even put a price what I have gone through emotionally."

Hope this clears it up and Steven can get a job. Many companies don't talk about a former employee at all when they are called even though legally, they can. They just say yeah they worked here, bye. Not because the employee was bad, they just want to avoid a headache down the road. Oh and by they way, before you use a reference, make sure you can trust them.

A problem left you feeling jobbed? Ready to employ some help?

Refer it to us, we don't just look at the background, we also look forward to a solution.



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REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at



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