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Employment Policy Governing Employee References

The CSU recognizes that reference-checking is an important part of the search and hiring process. It further recognizes that many CSU employees are asked, on occasion, to provide positive references for former or current colleagues and/or direct reports. The CSU systemwide Employment Policy Governing the Provision of Employee References is intended to outline the principles and procedures guiding the provision of such references, given the legal liability associated therewith. Key details from the updated policy are listed below. The complete policy can be accessed and viewed online: PolicyState: Employment Policy Governing the Provision of Employee References. All employees are expected to comply with the policy.

In addition to the information about the CSU’s Employment Policy Governing the Provision of Employee References outlined below, please also refer to the FAQ for MPP, Staff and Volunteers which addresses common questions related to the Policy.

Reference Requests Should be Referred to the Office of Human Resources (OHR) or Faculty Affairs

  • Employees should refer reference requests from third parties to the following offices for response, as there may be relevant information about which the receiving employee is unaware:
  • HR and Faculty Affairs should review the employee’s personnel file and confer with the Title IX/DHR office regarding whether the employee has had findings against them or whether any investigations or appeals are pending.

CSU will not provide verbal or written positive reference to an employee who has:

  • Engaged in misconduct resulting in non-retention, termination, or separation through a mutually agreed upon settlement agreement.
  • Is currently under investigation for a significant misconduct or violation of a university policy (request may be held in abeyance until conclusion of investigation and any appeals.)
  • Had retirement benefits rescinded due to criminal misconduct associated with their official duties.

Personal Reference Are Permissible 

  • Personal references are permissible but must clearly indicate they are being provided in an individual capacity and not on behalf of the CSU.
  • Personal references will not be written on CSU letterhead.
  • Executives and senior administrators should consult with HR and Faculty Affairs to determine if positive references should be provided, even in an individual capacity.

Employment Verifications

Employment verifications for current or former employees must always be directed to Payroll Services. It is the CSU's policy to provide minimal information about current or former employees to non-CSU entities for employment verification purposes. In accordance with the CSU policy, CSUSM shall provide only the current or former employee's job title(s), dates of employment, and job duties.