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Is there a way to tell if your former employer is giving you a bad reference or "spoiling" the market for you? For context: After many years at one company, starting in an entry level position, I moved up to director/department manager. I left when I reported documented harassment and it was ignored. I gave 6 weeks notice, but I did not leave on good terms with the CEO. That CEO is a big name in the local industry. After volunteering for a year, I have been looking for 6 months for mid-or-senior level positions. I have reached the final stages with employers 3 times - but just before the offer, they abruptly cease negotiations/discussions. I have carefully examined my own actions and I can't see what I might be doing wrong, and I am concerned that my previous employer might be giving a bad reference (I do not list him as a reference, but employers may be reaching out independently?) or even seeking out prospective employers to discourage them (he has displayed petty behavior like this in the past).