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<p>Basically, to make a long story short, I used to work for a mental health agency. I worked there for 2 years, and during that time I recieved 3 promotions, was never written up or reprimended for anything, and I was one of the few staff who were trusted enough to carry the emergency on-call pager.</p>
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<p>I put in my notice because I was caring for a very high needs foster child whom it looked as though we were going to adopt. I had recieved an opportunity to work somewhere else part time. My foster child had a psychotic breakdown and had to be put in the ER. I lost my part time job as a result of having to stay there with him, and not being able to tell my boss when I would be able to go back to work. I also fought with the mental health agency to outsource his therapy to a children's hospital, and after almost a week, I won.</p>
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<p>However, I learned that the mental health agency was giving me very bad references, and a therapist who worked there informed me that it was because they were furious that they had lost so much money on my foster son when I made them outsource his care. So, as a result I am not able to get a job in that field in my area, because every smaller organization is affiliated with the company.</p>
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<p>I have been out of work for a year now. The only way that I will be able to find a job in my field is if I move. But my partner has a job promise in the summer with a very good company. It pays extremely well, no weekends, and he would be working with 2 of his best friends. So if we move, he loses that opportunity, with no garantee of another job offer. However, I will easily be able to find work. Right now we are struggling, I am unemployed and he works very part time, as needed.</p>
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<p>We can try to squeak by through the winter, or we can move several hours away and seek employment. But if we move, my kids won't be able to see their dad but maybe every other weekend. But if we stay, we don't have garanteed income right now. We need to decide something soon, as we are saving up our money to move, but that money is going to be sucked up by upcoming bills... and I dont have any idea of what we should do. Thoughts?</p>
 

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<p>Sorting out references would be a first step. Do you have other sources for references? Either someone with some integrity at the mental health agency or someone outside the agency with whom you would have been in professional contact, like other professionals (psychiatrists, family doctors, people at other social or health agencies)?</p>
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<p>Is there any possibility of setting up independently and offering your services? Is there any consulting work available? What about related fields? </p>
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<p>If you are completely blocked in your field, then the issue is finding any kind of employment available. Without knowing your particular skills and experience and the job market, it's tough to give further advice. The best advice is probably to tell every.single.person you talk to that you are looking for employment and you are open to new opportunities. </p>
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<p>Good luck. </p>
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<p>Threaten to make a public fuss? Isn't it libel or slander or something to give bad references when the person didn't do anything? I know a lot of companies refuse to give any information other than "yes that person worked for us on those dates" for fear of litigation. If people can cause trouble about true allegations of poor work and such, then it should certainly be possible to deal with false ones.</p>
 

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<p>Have you been able to get a copy of the reference?  If not, there are companies out there that will check your references for you or maybe you can ask a friend to call on your behalf?   Or maybe are you part of a professional society  that has an ombudsman?</p>
<p>As pp has said, I would assume you can take them to court and have them issue a retraction if they are making up lies or stretching the truth (late once or twice turns into constantly late).</p>
 

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<p>oh MPJJJ i just wanted to give you a hug.</p>
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<p>being a small fish going after big fish is really really really hard. so much fighting to do.</p>
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<p>i wish i had more to offer, i wish there were easier answers. but i dont think so. </p>
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<p>i hope something works out for you. </p>
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<p><img alt="hug2.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com//images/smilies/hug2.gif"></p>
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<p>How about going to see the people you used to work for.  Talk to them - try to get it out on the table, and get them to recognize the impact this is having on you.  The money is gone whether they continue to give you bad references or not, and by requesting a group meeting maybe someone in the room will step up and do the right thing?</p>
 

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<p>Don't use them as a reference. Put 'no you may not contact this company' down on applications. Look farther afield - you may have to drive a ways but surely theres someone within decent driving distance you can work for (1-2hours). </p>
 

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<p>I would ask them to give you a written reference letter. If they don't have anything bad to say about your job performance, then you should be able to use that letter and hope future employers won't call them. </p>
 

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<p>I think I would ask every person I worked with at the agency for a personal work reference.  Then I would also have someone else call to get a "reference" from the company.  You may have grounds for a slander suit.  Even just a "threat" to them may end the blacklisting.</p>
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<p>But, your hand delivered personal work references you get could take the place of their reference on a new job interview.  And I would just explain the sitation to the interviewer and hope for the best.</p>
 

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<p>I would contact your state labor board ASAP. If you can get anyone to document what you were told by your old employer you most likely have a labor case against them - which the labor board would handle completely, although you may want to have your own labor lawyer involved if possible. You might have a case against them even if you can't get someone to document what you were told. But you should definitely report them so that even if the labor board can't make a case against them right now, this is in their file.</p>
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<p>Other than that, I would try to get as many professional references from trusted people from the agency as possible, so that you can list them instead of the HR dept. If you can get letters from clients who have worked with you (if that is legal in your field) that would also be great.</p>
 

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<p>Contact a lawyer.  Have them contact the person who told you about the bad references and get a statement.  Then have them contact the agency.  You can also contact your state's attorney.  If you are in the US what they are doing is illegal and could have MAJOR repercussions.  Sadly, in my past I did have to use a lawyer for a harassment situation.  It was resolved nicely.  Good luck!</p>
 
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