There was a question in my pastoral care class this morning about whether you would be civilly liable for not giving a good recommendation if a potential employer of someone you knew called you (a minister) and was doing a background/reference check. I summoned my powers of the force to think back to my law school days. I dug around and checked the Illinois statutes. I am not a member of the Illinois bar nor do I make any claim to giving competent legal advice. Here's the Illinois state law as it stands now, make your own conclusions:
CHAPTER 745. CIVIL IMMUNITIES EMPLOYMENT RECORD DISCLOSURE ACT
745 ILCS 46/5 (2005)
§ 745 ILCS 46/5. Public purpose declaration
Sec. 5. Public purpose declaration. The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to protect from civil actions an employer that provides truthful, performance-related information about an employee or former employee to an employment reference inquiry.
§ 745 ILCS 46/10. No liability for providing truthful information
Sec. 10. No liability for providing truthful information. Any employer or authorized employee or agent acting on behalf of an employer who, upon inquiry by a prospective employer, provides truthful written or verbal information, or information that it believes in good faith is truthful, about a current or former employee's job performance is presumed to be acting in good faith and is immune from civil liability for the disclosure and the consequences of the disclosure. The presumption of good faith established in this Section may be rebutted by a preponderance of evidence that the information disclosed was knowingly false or in violation of a civil right of the employee or former employee.