Nebraska has joined other states in granting civil immunity to employers seeking reference information about applicants they are about to hire. The new law authorizes employers to gather the following information from previous employers, provided they get a written consent from the applicant.

(1) Dates and duration of employment;

(2) Final pay rate and wage history;

(3) Job description and duties;

(4) The most recent performance evaluation provided to the employee during his or her employment;

(5) Attendance information;

(6) Drug and alcohol testing results within one year prior to the date of the reference request;

(7) Threats of violence, harassing acts, or threatening behavior related to the workplace;

(8) Whether the employee was voluntarily or involuntarily separated from employment, and the reasons for the separation; and

(9) Whether the employee is eligible for rehire.

For this the written consent should be part of the application form or a separate form and the writing should be bold and legible. To be valid, the consent must be signed and dated by the applicant (the consent is only valid for six months from the date of signature), and contain the following statement: “I, [applicant], hereby give consent to any and all prior employers of mine to provide information with regard to my employment with prior employers to [prospective employer].”

Different states implementing different laws is creating a rising challenge especially for recruiters to be compliant with existing regulations. This challenge increases manifold when the organization is involved in recruitment and staffing in multiple states. Given the complexity of being compliant, it is advisable to seek legal advice in formulating policies and procedures in the company before implementing them.