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Ontario court dismisses lawsuit over bad job reference: lawyers

File photo of a judge's gavel. GETTY IMAGES/Joe Raedle

A man who sued his former employer for defamation over a negative job reference has lost his case after an Ontario court found the evaluation was truthful.

Lawyers for Stokes Economic Consulting say the company has been cleared in an $800,000 lawsuit filed by its former employee Adam Papp.

They say the court ruled that companies should be allowed to give their honest opinion in a job reference so long as there is no malicious intent.

The lawyers say the firm offered to give Papp a reference after firing him and planned to praise his technical abilities and computing skills.

They say that when the company received a call from the government of Yukon, it was repeatedly asked how Papp interacted with others.

They say the firm told the truth — that Papp did not get along well with his coworkers — information that cost him the job.

“The decision should reassure employers that they can and should give honest job references without fear of liability for a defamation lawsuit,” Jon Pinkus, one of the lawyers representing the company, said in a statement.

“Without honest evaluations, the entire reference check process is a futile exercise.”