Have you ever found yourself in the awkward position of having someone you know ask if they can put you down as a reference for a job they're applying for?

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I've had that situation happen several times.

One of the times involved someone I thought wouldn't be able to do what the job required. I was worried about them getting hired and doing poorly and it looking bad on me for vouching for them.

Credit: eric prouzet via unsplash
Credit: eric prouzet via unsplash
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Another time I had a former boss who was toxic and made life a living hell for me and my coworkers.

I know people can change but I couldn't in good conscience recommend them for a job and expose other people to that kind of work environment.

Boss
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I was talking about this with someone the other day and they told me they thought it was against the law to not recommend someone for a job. Here is what I found out.

Is it breaking the law in Michigan to not recommend someone for a job?

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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Recommendations are generally considered to be expressions of personal opinions or subjective assessments of an individual's abilities, skills, or character.

Employers and employees are free to offer or withhold their recommendations as they see fit, so long as they do not engage in discriminatory or retaliatory conduct.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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The law in Michigan prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics, including race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, and disability.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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This means that employers cannot make employment decisions, including the decision to provide or withhold a recommendation, based on any of these factors.

For example, if an employer decides not to recommend someone for a job because of their race, this would be a violation of the anti-discrimination laws in Michigan.

Is It Against Michigan Law To Give A False Or Misleading Recommendation?

If an individual provides a false or misleading recommendation, they may be liable for defamation or other legal claims.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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Additionally, if an individual provides a recommendation that is based on confidential or privileged information, they may be in breach of their duty of confidentiality or trust.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash
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The bottom line is while it is not illegal in Michigan to not recommend someone for a job, employers and employees should be careful of the potential legal implications of their recommendations.

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