What is legally allowed for an ex-employer to say to a new employer about your previous employment?

How much can a previous employer say about performance, why you left, and your position? I understand for most companies maintain the policy or the theory to get as much information as you can when inquiring about somebody, but give as little as possible when somebody calls to ask about a previous employee. What are the parameters of what they are allowed to say legally and in regards to liability? Does anyone in a Human Resource role know and how much gray area can occur?
I understand that they are only supposed to give your date of hire and leave, and job title, but I wonder how often companies give more than that? I would like to really hear from somebody that is in HR and can be honest about what has been said from experience.

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4 Responses to “What is legally allowed for an ex-employer to say to a new employer about your previous employment?”

  1. John E says:

    Legally, they are only required to verify that you were employed with them and the dates of your employment.

  2. Ashley D says:

    they are only supposed to tell new employers that yes, you worked there, and when you were employed. that is why a lot of places ask for personal referances too

  3. MeInUSA says:

    If you sign a release with your new employer allowing your previous employer to reveal everything then the could tell the new employer EVERYTHING .. although usually former employers play it safe and don’t give very much.

  4. K C says:

    The ex-employer is only allowed to say that Yes you were employed there and then give the dates of the employment. They are not allowed to say anything else!