Luttmann v. Tiffany and Co, No. 2:07-CV-03521- SRC-MAS, (D.N.J., January 23, 2009) (unpublished) – The plaintiff, who was terminated for violating company policy, later received an offer of employment from a new employer contingent on a background check. When the prospective employer learned from the prior employer the reason for the plaintiff’s termination, it withdrew the offer. The plaintiff sued his prior employer for, inter alia, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage.
The court granted summary judgment for the employer on the tortious interference claim because the plaintiff could not establish malice, an essential element of the claim. The court stated “[i]t is clearly established under New Jersey law that a former employer that gives truthful information to a prospective future employer does not act with malice and that providing truthful information is simply not actionable.”
Although Luttmann is good news for employers, employers should remain cautious about providing prospective employers with any information about former employees other than basic employment confirmation information (name, position and dates of employment), in order to minimize the risk of such a lawsuit.