Employees FAQ 23

Does Wisconsin law provide a local government employer with immunity for employment references?

Yes. Wisconsin law provides that when an employer, including a municipal employer, provides an employment reference to a prospective employer at the request of an employee or the prospective employer, the employer is presumed to be acting in good faith and is immune from all civil liability that may result from providing that reference. Wis. Stat. sec. 895.487. However, the immunity may be lost if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the employer did not act in good faith when providing the reference. Lack of good faith may be shown through evidence that the employer:

  1. knowingly provided false information in the reference;
  2. made the reference maliciously, or;
  3. made the reference in retaliation for the employee exercising certain statutory employment rights. Wis. Stat. sec. 895.487(2).