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Q  "Employer is badmouthing me"
I left a very important company in my industry under not the best circumstances. Was asked for letter of resignation and told I'd get a reference. Since then I have learned my ex-boss told a company that inquired about me that I was "let go" and that he "would not give details".

This situation follows a 10 year career unblemished in industry. I was hurt on the job and unable to master all that was required in a timely fashion. This was partly due to not being in full health and partly due to my lack of computer skills. My boss doesn't return calls from me. He promised a letter of reference, but didn't deliver. Should I take the job off my resume? Other references are excellent. This guy is known in the industry to be a jerk but yet is very powerful and influencial due to size of company. FYI -- retail industry, specialty market. Please advise any suggestions.

A  First let me remind you that I'm not a lawyer, and there are legal issues involved here. You really should find a good employment attorney and get legal advice. You must use your judgment on the advice I'm about to give you; only you know the situation in detail. I'm sorry to hear you're facing such a problem.

Don't try to call your boss. He's not your friend. I'd start by talking to the human resources manager at the company. Explain what you agreed to (re: resignation letter and references). Explain that you expect the company to honor the agreement. You need to decide if you want to include the suggestion that you might take legal action if they don't follow through on their promise.

Most companies are very sensitive to potential law suits over issues like this. Approach the HR manager calmly and politely, but firmly. "I was a loyal employee and I did my best for the company. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I have no hard feelings, and I left on good terms. I'd like to keep it on that level. However, my old boss is making it very difficult for me to win a new job. I resigned my job; he's telling people I was let go. That's not honest. Can you help me?"

If you resigned, they can't be telling people they let you go.

Depending on the outcome, you may have little choice but to let a good lawyer handle this.

Best wishes,
The Headhunter


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