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Library: Policy

340:2-1-34. Employment verifications and references

Revised 9-17-18

(a) Employment verification inquiries.  Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) responses to employment verification inquiries, such as credit references, work status inquiries, and employment references on employees or former employees are made either by Financial Services (FS) or Human Resource Management (HRM), except as noted in (b) of this Section. • 1

(1) FS or HRM provides only the employee's or former employee's correct name, dates of employment, and the current or last job family descriptor and level held.

(2) an employee's or former employee's address, Social Security number, or other information is not provided.

(3) Only salary confirmation information is provided.

(4) additional information may be released only upon receipt of a written authorization from the employee or former employee.

(b) References.  Professional references cannot impart any confidential information and must be void of personal opinion and content of a defamatory, retaliatory, or discriminatory nature.  • 2

(1) Internal requests.  Supervisors and managers must respond to reference requests initiated within DHS.  The response is in writing either by memo or email.

(2) External requests.  Managers and supervisors do not respond to verbal requests for references.  A release for information signed by the employee must be received.  • 3 & 4


Revised 9-17-18

1.  Sample phone response to an inquiry is limited to:"Thank you for calling the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS).I am pleased to confirm that Mr. or Mrs. (employee name) was an employee of DHS from (date) to (date) as a (position title) at (position location).We are unable to release additional information without a signed release from the person."

2.  Examples of prohibited information in a reference include:

(1) knowingly false information or information attacking a person's reputation;

(2) personal information, such as sexual orientation or medical history;

(3) age, ethnic background, Americans with Disabilities Act, or other statutorily-protected information;

(4) negative information intended to retaliate;

(5) misleading information about a person who poses a risk of harm; and

(6) misrepresentation by not disclosing the employee received corrective discipline for violence in the workplace.

3.  Do not provide professional reference by phone.Requests are responded with:"We are unable to release information without a signed authorization document from the person."

(1) The request for reference must be in writing and identify the source of the request.  A release may be provided to the requester's organization to obtain proper authorization from the applicant or employee in question. Mailed, emailed, or faxed copies of requests are accepted.

(2) The release is provided upon request from the business or company seeking a professional reference and is not to be given directly to the employee.

(3) If the unit receiving the request has a pre-signed release from the employee on file, no further authorization is needed.

(4) Former or current employees may revoke a previously executed release in writing, to the location where the signed release was furnished.  Revocation of a previously executed release can only be made in writing to the location where the signed release was furnished.  Current and former employees wanting to revoke a previously executed release verbally are instructed to submit the request in writing to the location where the signed release was furnished.

(5) A copy of any information released is retained in the local personnel file for a minimum of two years.

4.  The local human resources liaison assists the manager by checking personnel records prior to responding to the reference to confirm that the reason for leaving DHS was either voluntary or involuntary.

5.  DHS or state letterhead is not used for a personal reference request.

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