Multilingual translation and legal language translation services come in handy when dealing with foreign language documents, such as reference letters from a former employer. In the previous legal translation post we discussed the major legal problems employers face when asked to provide a job reference for an ex-employee. As the American legal system provides no requirement for mandatory job references, employers who give them may open the door to a defamation lawsuit. The unfortunate effect is that the hiring employers are not able to get the information they need to make an informed hiring decision.
One possible solution to this situation is the adoption of mandatory job reference laws. In Germany, for example, law has long mandated that a job reference request be honored. Under this system, at the close of an employment relationship – regardless of its cause – the employee is entitled to a written reference per their request. If the requested reference is not supplied, the former employer may be required to pay money damages if the employee can prove the loss of a new job as a result of not being able to provide a previous job reference.
Although this alters the burden of any litigation stemming from a job reference, it also further complicates situation involving an employee who has worked for a foreign company. For example, there remains the issue of obtaining an accurate foreign language translation of the job reference. Whose responsibility is it to get the foreign language translation? If it is the current employer’s or former employer’s – are they liable for any mistranslations? If it is the employee’s responsibility, will the employer still need to obtain his own foreign language translation in order to ensure honesty and accuracy?