By Jim Balassone
A former employee who was fired due to poor quality work, absences, and lateness related to her drinking problem, informs you that she has applied for a position at another company and has already given your name as a reference. She desperately needs a job (she is a single parent with three children), and she asks you to give her a good recommendation and not mention her drinking, which she assures you is now under control.
She also asks you to say that she voluntarily left the company to address a family medical crisis, and that the company was pleased with her work. You like this person and believe she is a good worker when she is not drinking. You doubt that she really has overcome her drinking problem, however, and you would not recommend your own company hire her back.
What do you say to this woman?
What do you say to an employer who calls you for a reference?
What if the prospective employer was a friend?
Suppose the problem was a theft?
Suppose she had asked you to be a reference prior to supplying your name to her prospective employer?
What values are at stake? Do some of the values conflict with one another?
I would tell her that I won’t disclose her to prospective job why she was terminated. I would also tell her that any company that call for reference, I will informed them that she left because of personal reason .If the prospective employer was a friend , I would tell he/she exactly why she was terminated but explained that she really needs a job and would be a good employee if she stop drinking. If the problem was theft, I would not give any recommendation and will strictly state the facts if the prospective job called for any references. I would say no to a character reference but of course she can use the company as a job reference. The value that would be at stake for me is honesty and integrity. Some of my values do conflict with each other because I am more prone to help a