I was laid off from my last job when the company decided to downsize. I received a severance package, and the paperwork said that the company would follow its standard reference policy of giving out only my dates of employment, positions held at the company, and compensation. I'm looking for a new job, but every time I get to the stage of the hiring process where they check my references, I get turned down. A recruiter told me that my former manager is badmouthing me, telling everyone who calls that he thinks I have a poor attitude and no respect for authority. Can he violate the company's own policy? Is there anything I can do to stop this?