Late night debates at the Legislature are in full swing and we are nearing the pinnacle of the 2012 Legislative session. We began debating on consent calendar bills last week, which are bills that have been deemed non-controversial and are allowed no more than 15 minutes of debate. My bill, LB 1126, is one of the bills that passed first round on consent calendar.
This past week a bill that was advanced to select file triggered my interest and the importance it has on my district. The bill I am referring to is Legislative Bill 959, a job reference immunity bill, introduced by Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont and prioritized by Senator Colby Coash of Lincoln.
LB 959 provides employer job reference immunity for current and previous employers that provide employment information, of an employee, to prospective employers. AM 1020, a committee amendment, was passed and incorporated into the bill. AM 1020, allows a former or current employer to provide certain information to a future employer upon written consent of the future employer. The employer is not required to provide, but may provide the following information of an employee:
Date and duration of employment;
Pay rate and wage history;
Job description and duties.
The most recent written performance evaluation;
Results of drug or alcohol tests within the past year;
Threats of violence, harassment or threatening behavior in the workplace or toward another employee;
Whether the employee was voluntarily or involuntarily separated from employment and the reasons;
Whether the employee is eligible for rehire.
The employer providing such information is immune to civil liability, as long as they are acting in good faith and that there is no false information given in recklessly or in spite.
Nebraska is one of the few states that does not provide protection to employers from civil liability for disclosing job reference information. Therefore, many employers are hesitant to disclose detail of an employees references. Encouraging employers to communicate relevant and factual information is an important tool for the hiring process. It allows for effective job screening and prevents a high employee turnover rate. In return employee's are more likely to perform more efficiently. As a former business owner I see the importance of, LB 959, and the benefits it creates for both employer's and employee's. I intend to continue my support of this bill and I am open to hearing any comments or concerns my constituents may have regarding LB 959.
Questions or comments? Contact, Senator Mark R. Christensen, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, 402-471-2805.