Killeen: Lawsuit Leads To Change In Employee Reference Policy

By: Rachel Cox Email
By: Rachel Cox Email

KILLEEN (September 13, 2013) --- A new City of Killeen policy dealing with employee reference queries says prospective employers will have to go an extra mile to get any information on a former city employee.

An internal e-mail says that effective this week, anyone who wants information about a former employee must first ask for it in writing, and even then the information released is limited.

The information that may now be released includes an employee's last position held, employment dates, and, with the former employee’s permission, compensation.

A formal open records request is required for any additional information.

This change comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed against the city on Sept. 5 by former employee Megian Douglass, Killeen’s former recreation superintendent.

She says she was allowed to resign in 2009 after reaching a settlement in an earlier suit.

But when Douglass posed as an employer and placed a call to Killeen HR for a reference she got a different story.

A transcript of the phone call attached to the lawsuit shows a Killeen HR employee said that Douglass was terminated and that it wasn't clear if she was eligible to be rehired

When asked about eligibility, the HR employee responded, “Um, it doesn't say so. I guess she is, then," according to the transcript.

In an e-mail to Douglass' attorney, Bill Aleshire, Davis said the HR employee’s provided a training opportunity.

"The HR employee who answered this phone call had all of the necessary information available, and knew what it meant, but did not properly convey it," Davis said in the e-mail.

"Perhaps some good has been done here not only for our client Megian Douglass but for frankly every former employee of the city that could have been harmed by the mistaken information given over the phone as given in her case," Aleshire said.

Four years after she resigned records now show the city made changes to Douglass' profile this week to show she eligible to be rehired.

On Friday the City of Killeen said it had no comment on the issue because of the pending lawsuit.

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