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Employment Reference Rules in Michigan

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 22, 2012.

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Employers in Michigan must comply with these state rules on providing service letters for former employees.

In Michigan, service letter rules apply to educational employment.

Before hiring an applicant for employment, a school district, local act school district, public school academy, intermediate school district, or nonpublic school must ask the applicant to sign a statement that both authorizes the applicant's current or former employer to disclose to the hiring entity any unprofessional conduct by the applicant and to make available to the hiring entity copies of all documents in the employee's personnel record maintained by the current or former employer relating to that unprofessional conduct; and releases the current or former employer, and employees acting on behalf of the current or former employer, from any liability for providing the information described and waives any required written notice.

Applicants who do not sign such a statement must not be hired.

Before hiring an applicant for employment, a school district, local act school district, public school academy, intermediate school district, or nonpublic school must ask at least the applicant's current employer or, if the applicant is not currently employed, the applicant's immediately previous employer to provide the information described above, if any. The request must include a copy of the statement signed by the applicant.

Not later than 20 business days after receiving such a request, an employer must provide the information requested and make available to the requesting entity copies of all documents in the employee's personnel record relating to the unprofessional conduct. An employer, or an employee acting on behalf of the employer, that discloses this information in good faith is immune from civil liability for the disclosure.

Information received under this provision may be used by a school district, local act school district, public school academy, intermediate school district, or nonpublic school only for the purpose of evaluating an applicant's qualification for employment in the position for which he or she has applied. Except as otherwise provided by law, a board member or employee of one of the entities listed above must not disclose the information to any person, other than the applicant, who is not directly involved in the process of evaluating the applicant's qualifications for employment.

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