I have a few thoughts. I think it should be customary for those going to an interview to be handed a list of references from their prospective employer. I think it is only fair. We have to give them names of friends, associates, where we worked and for how long, why don't they? Why aren't we handed a list of past employees, how long they stayed, what they did, what was the last person’s salary? Why was it they left their employment?????
I would bet you that if you asked your potential employer for references from prior employees, professional associates and personal friends (that have known them at least 3 years), you would be looked at like an idiot....
I believe they should, and it should be customary. For instance, my former boss wouldn't have been able to give out references, unless he gave fake names, numbers and addresses. In fact, he WAS such a tyrant, I'd love to warn a new paralegal....do yourself a favor and just keep looking. It would make me happy just to save her the trouble.
Anyone ever have a boss say that the bones in your face would be shattered if he were to punch you in the face? That in order to be successful, he would look you in the face, and aim for the back of your head through the front.. Who in the hell says that to an employee? Hell, who says that to ANYONE?
I wasn't so shocked to find out that his former employee had quit, as did another...The former employee and I spoke for over an hour, trading stories of the tyrant that employed us, she lasted much longer than I did...the one in between left after 18 hours! Not even 3 full days! Another, 45 minutes!!!!!!!! Now if he had to give me references, I would have been able to call them and ask why they left, had I been able to do that, I would have not wasted my time with that sick tyrant.
What I find rather unfair is that if you were to ask for their references at a job interview, you wouldn't get them, nor would you get the job. Likely, they will never be forced to provide them either because they will call every employee who ever left because of their bad behavior, work conditions, or any unfairness at all, disgruntled. But if you have a particular employer you prefer they do not contact because you quit for any of the above reasons...they want an explanation, with the "hopes of understanding," I think what they are doing in asking what happened, is figuring out what they might be able to get away with -- what your limitations are, how far can they go?? That decides your fate with that company..
I will add that not all employers are like that, I have worked for some fine people who respect and appreciate their employees. However, from my own experiences and from speaking with a few people, I can see that those types of employers are becoming the exception and not the rule, and that? Disturbs me.