If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

According to Philly.com (not CA, I know), a former Best Buy Manager is suing the company for preventing him from obtaining gainful employment.

Stung by a scathing job reference, a South Jersey man filed a federal lawsuit last week, claiming that Best Buy, his former employer, blackballed him.

Michael Oliveri, 47, said it was impossible to find a new job after he was fired in August 2006 from Best Buy, the electronics megamart.

In his suit, Oliveri said he became suspicious after job offers at Circuit City and Target were abruptly terminated.

So Oliveri, of Columbus, Burlington County, hatched a plan.

He created an e-mail account using the name of a Target employee. Then Oliveri sent a note to his former company asking for a “candidate reference.”

According to Oliveri’s lawsuit, the district human resources manager, Ann McCafferty, allegedly responded:

“I will give you the skinny on him but you can’t say you got any info from Best Buy or we can be sued. Just don’t hire him and say you went with a better candidate.

“He was hired as GM and demoted after 12 months or so because he sucked. He is desperate for a job because supposedly his wife left him because he has no job. I would not touch him.

“Again, do not forward this e-mail to anybody or say where you heard the info from because we were not allowed to give this info out, but I would hate you to get stuck with this guy!”

Needless to say, Oliveri did not get the job.

If she indeed said these things, I’d love to find out what this HR Manager was thinking, not only for saying such things but for putting it in writing and then requesting it not be forwarded (an invitation to do just that).

Honest feedback is often appreciated but can truly land one in hot water.

I’m all for letting a potential employer know if there are violence/safety issues, but I still believe the path of least resistance to provide only name, rank and serial number.

And Lord knows, we all need as little resistance as possible.

5 Replies to “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…”

  1. While I do feel that what the HR manager did is not defendable I’m going to do just that. She was wrong, but she thought it was a friend from a previous job – who doesn’t do that? Many people would, so its easy for all of us to sit back in judgement, but this could easily be anyone. Now this former employee has made her a laughingstock on the entire web and may have cost her her job and reputation. I hope he’s eternally happy with himself.

  2. I worked with this guy at Best Buy. I am not using my full name because based on experience, especially in the Philadelphia districts, the management cannot be trusted to not retaliate against employees for expressing their opinion. I work in the district where Ann McCafferty was the former HR Manager and I can tell you from experience that her response does not surprise me. She has a history of only taking care of her “favorite” people and hurting those that she did not like. Not only are her comments about Mike reprehensible, but they are completely false. He did not “suck” as she says, in fact he received good performance reviews and numerous customer service and performance awards from Best Buy during his time in Plymouth Meeting and King of Prussia. Mike was treated very unfairly by the District Manager’s and the Human Resources Manager’s in both Philly districts. Both districts have a history of promoting only based on nepotism not based on performance. Best Buy’s senior management needs to do something about this problem or they will continue to lose quality employees, myself included. I wish Mike the best of luck. He is missed by many of his former colleagues.

  3. So….his legal case is based on a “fake” person asking for a “fake” reference? Or, if you want to look a little closer, a “stolen identity” asking for a “fake” reference? I wonder what the Target employee whose identity was stolen thought about this?

    This is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard, but yes, I agree, if you don’t have anything good to say, simply confirm employment dates and title.

    As for the legal case, good luck, I can’t imagine what a court is going to say, particularly when no “real” employment reference was even involved.

  4. I suspect the situation was that because he was having problems getting employment he had suspicions that it was due to reference problems and that she was set up so that he could obtain evidence to use in Court. I have known of other situations where in the same thing has been done in order to gain evidence. If this is the case, it was done more than once. It pays to simply go by the rules and do the right thing. Even if we don’t personally care for an individual they may do well in another position. I feel it is abuse of power to affect another individuals future with more info than we normally give. Afterall, we don’t know what might transpire with this person in years to come or what changes this person might make. We are just HR–Not God

Comments are closed.