For some time now, it has been the established practice in the HR community to give sparingly of information about former employees. The standard "neutral reference" consists of almost nothing: the employee's start date, stop date, and position held when she left the payroll.
There has been cause for a reluctance to give more. Former employees who are denied prospective employment because of a critical reference (or one that implied the individual was incompetent) have gone to court under a slander theory, claiming the reference was defamatory.
NOTE THAT Illinois as of 1996 has a law on the books, the Personnel Record Disclosure Act, that “shields” you from suit for giving an honest reference.
This folder contains information about how the law requires information flow in the reference process - - and how the law protects this flow - - and you.