Firing an employee is often one of the more challenging aspects about being a food truck owner. Dismissing an employee from your mobile business is a stressful and challenging task. Unfortunately, the difficulties don’t always end when they’re out the door. Eventually, the employee you terminated will look for a new job and his prospective employer may contact you for information. Employees, even those you let go, may ask about giving references. Tread carefully.
When you fire an employee, and you know you won’t be able to provide a positive reference for him in the future, tell him. Once they know that you won’t give them a good reference, they’re unlikely to list you as one on future job applications. Unfortunately, in some cases, they may have to. Here is what to do in those situations.
Giving References For A Staff Member You Fired
- Verify information. Check the former employee’s file before giving a reference to ensure that you state just the facts.
- Keep it short. Whether you’re writing a reference letter or providing a phone reference, limit the amount of information you offer. This will reduce your chances of saying anything that could be perceived as defamatory.
- Keep it factual. Limit your responses to factual information: dates of employment, title, salary/hourly wage, and other objective data.
What To Tell Your Staff
It can be tough to figure out what to tell your staff when an employee leaves on bad terms. Our advice to food truck owners is not to go into detail. After an employee is fired, make a statement to your other employees. Tell them that the employee is no longer with the business. Tell them who will handle the tasks that person was responsible for. Inform them that if they have any questions, to ask them directly to you.
If you are not careful in giving references about former employees, you might find yourself facing a defamation lawsuit. To prove defamation, a former employee has to show that you intentionally damaged their reputation by making harmful statements about the employee that you knew were false.
If you want to make sure that you’re protected against lawsuits, require former employees to sign a release form. This is an agreement that gives you permission to provide information to prospective employers. It will also state that they will not to sue over the information you provide.
The Bottom Line
Whenever one of your food truck employees leaves, you will have to decide what to say to other employers who call for a reference. The decision is pretty straightforward if the employee left on good terms. But if the employee was fired, you face a more difficult task.