Asked in Employment Law and Libel & Slander for North Carolina

Q: Do I have recourse if a former employer implies I was fired for cause when, in fact, I resigned with no issues?

I recently went through a background check as part of an application process for a job. Although the check indicated I was eligible for rehire by a former employer, I noticed that they listed my reason for leaving as “Against Company Policy.” I gave them four weeks notice as required in the employee handbook and they even threw me a party. I was not formally or informally reprimanded at any time during the 8.5 years I worked there. I know the boss was annoyed that I was leaving when I did, but I was the first in a fairly significant exodus in response to this new boss (who was asked to leave 3 years into a 5 year contract). I am offended and dismayed that my 8+ year history with an otherwise great institution is sullied by this notation on my record. I was never informed that I had violated policy and did everything possible to ensure I didn’t violate policy in exiting the position. What recourse do I have? Do I have a right to see my own employee file?

1 Lawyer Answer
N'kia (NLN)
N'kia (NLN)
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: I am sorry to hear that you're experiencing this, especially after working so hard to maintain a good record with your former employer. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what constitutes a policy violation and the proper way to handle it, especially for an employee who is leaving.

In theory, you are likely entitled to review your file, particularly parts that you believe are inaccurate. (There are some nuances. But without more information, an attorney could only speculate on your specific rights.) In reality, it is sometimes difficult to get former employers to cooperate.

If you are unable to get your former employer to clarify what policy you allegedly violated (and correct obvious inaccuracies), you may want to seek some assistance from an attorney or the Department of Labor. It probably wouldn't hurt to at least consult with a knowledgeable attorney before contacting your former employer or the Department of Labor.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.