PA Approves Employer Shield for Employee Work History Disclosure

June 16, 2005 ( - Pennsylvania employers will be shielded from civil lawsuits over their disclosure of an employee's job performance to a prospective employer under a bill signed into law Wednesday.

A news release from Governor Edward Rendell said Rendell approved Senate Bill 69 , which provides civil liability immunity for an employer who makes such a disclosure at the request of the prospective employer.

The measure, approved unanimously by both houses of the Keystone State’s General Assembly, presumes that disclosures occur in good faith unless a disgruntled worker proves a lack of good faith by “clear and convincing evidence,” according to the announcement.

The bill does not cover release of false information or information that is “materially misleading,” or given with reckless disregard as to whether it is true, or that is otherwise prohibited by a contract, civil, common law or statutory right of the current or former employee.

The measure applies to businesses, public or nonprofit groups, or any person acting on their behalf, according to the announcement.

According to an Associated Press news report, the legislation was intended to prevent another case like that of Charles Cullen, a former registered nurse from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who worked at hospitals and nursing facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for 16 years until he was accused in December 2003 of murdering 24 patients. Cullen had previously been fired and investigated on suspicion of causing the death of a patient, according to the news story.