Legal Translation Online and Getting Employer References in the US Legal System

We’ve blogged about professional translation services, foreign language-speaking employees and the employer’s vicarious liability, and about legal translation and legal interpreting services to ensure compliance in employment recruiting. In the United States, employers have no legal recourse to securing employment references for prospective employees as the US legal system does not contain such a requirement.

Surprisingly, the problem is not that prospective employees will not provide references but that past employers often refuse to do so. The reason being is that there is that the legal system offers them no protection and many opt to not provide the reference as opposed to risking liability.

In response, many states have adopted job reference laws, including Florida, Colorado and Alaska. These laws typically are designed to discourage groundless litigation by creating a statutory presumption of good faith that shifts the burden from the employer to the plaintiff-employee. In other words, in a defamation suit based on a job reference, it is the employee’s job to prove the defamation case.

This issue becomes all the more complicated when an employee worked for a foreign corporation. In today’s global society, this is becoming all the more common. But, due to the need of a foreign language translation of a job reference, employers have the added burden of ensuring a correct foreign language translation and of a possible defamation suit. Thus, many opt to forgo the requested job reference.

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