The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
“Lawyers Warn Employers Against Giving Glowing Reviews on LinkedIn” is the self-explanatory title for a recent article at Law.com. Management representation pretty much puts the kibosh on giving employees recommendations, but repeats the familiar employer position that it’s okay to regurgitate dates of employment upon request.
It’s a sad day when a lawyer recommends that you not say something nice about someone, because he or she might be able to use it against you later in a court of law. Actually, it’s a sad day when we all assume that any employment relationship is going to end up soured, stomped on and more or less maligned in a litigation setting.
Plus, the reality is that most of us need references to get jobs, and we often rely on written ones from past employers that may not be available (or even no longer in business) when a potential employer tries to contact them for a reference. I’ve been given glowing letters of reference, and I’ve also written them for co-workers whose work I admired.
I think if you believe that a co-worker deserves an excellent letter of reference that you should be comfortable providing it in writing and/or posting it on LinkedIn. But don’t do it for the wrong reasons, such as pity or worse, for some kind of personal gain such as receiving a recommendation in kind or being perceived as popular, because then it might come back to haunt you later. Also, make sure the reference is appropriate and justified, and if it’s company policy, cleared by your own supervisor.
A good reference is vital, especially in a down economy. The old-fashioned one written on letterhead is being replaced by the virtual one, particularly the one posted on LinkedIn, which is clearly an essential job search tool for today’s applicants. Employers should not deny that privilege and recognition to deserving employees – but any recommendation should be carefully considered before providing it.