After the employee is ter­mi­nated you might receive inquiries about the employee from other busi­nesses. Be care­ful how you respond; oth­er­wise you might find your­self in a defama­tion claim. The only way they can prove such a claim is to prove that you knew that the infor­ma­tion you offered was false, but you passed it along any­way or that you were reck­less in sort­ing out the facts.

You may take the most cau­tious approach and don’t tell them any­thing. You may limit your response to a con­fir­ma­tion that the employee worked for you and pro­vide the dates the employee worked for you. You may pro­vide the facts in good faith, but be care­ful when you do. As soon as you start get­ting into spec­u­la­tion or rumor, you’re in dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory. If your moti­va­tion in pro­vid­ing the facts is to hurt the ex-employee or cover up the truth, you’re also in dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory. It’s also tough to know how to word things when the employee has both pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives. So the best pol­icy is: if you’re going to give facts, only give them when you have good things to say; oth­er­wise just pro­vide the name, posi­tion, and term of the employee when there’s some­thing negative.