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References.....what are my rights

(19 Posts)
holidaysarenice Mon 24-Sep-12 17:47:32

Too cut a long story short, i applied and got offered a job pending health checks, references etc.

Occy Health rang and said based on my form i was fit.
recruitment told me my two references were back and that they wanted a third, as i had commenced a more recent employer since them. did that too

now the job has been pulled - saying it was only subject to passing these checks.

aibu to think it was the last reference, and before i go on the fone blazing at them, what are my rights does anyone know, re. seeing this reference, and possibly that it may not have been written by the person i asked (who agreed and said it was fine to use him!!) but instead taken over and written by someone else?

aggghhhh!!!

aldiwhore Mon 24-Sep-12 17:48:39

Ask to see a copy of references? I'm not sure to be honest.

MarasmeAbsolu Mon 24-Sep-12 17:49:07

you have the right to see that reference under freedom of information act, as far as I understand.

Virgil Mon 24-Sep-12 17:50:33

You can't control your reference. If you have lost a job due to a negligent discriminatory or inaccurate statement in a reference then you can potentially bring a claim against the giver of the reference. Most employers will now only give a basic factual reference confirming job title, salary and maybe key tasks performed. This is so that they do not find themselves being sued by a company that acts in reliance upon a false reference.

holidaysarenice Mon 24-Sep-12 17:53:40

thanks guys, im not sure i do have the right under the data protection act. i had a quick google but there was so much conflicting stuff out there! and anyway i trust MN over google!!!!

thats what i thought that it literally was, name, start date, end date and that there were no major issues - which there werent!

im going between raging and gutted!

Virgil Mon 24-Sep-12 17:56:53

Why don't you call them and ask them. If you are calm and polite and explain that you think there must have been some
Mistake it is possible that a naive hr person will tell you.

holidaysarenice Mon 24-Sep-12 18:02:32

yeah i plan on calling them, i was just hoping someone here might have experience of this/ know exactly what i can and cant ask for before i ring. so i sound like i know what im talking about.

Virgil Mon 24-Sep-12 18:20:48

You can ask them calmly and politely if they would mind giving you feedback as to why you didn't get the job. They might tell you or they might not. You can't insist that they do.

In terms of the data protection act there is an exemption in relation to references. Your old employer will
Not have to give you a copy of the reference if you do a subject access request. The new company cannot rely on the exemption to cover a reference they have received from a third party but may tell you that it contains confidential opinion and then refuse to provide it on that basis.

Ask first then use a subject access request as a fallback.

Really though, don't you know why you haven't been given the job? You mentioned that a different person might have given the reference. Would this have made a difference? Was there a problem
In your last role?

holidaysarenice Mon 24-Sep-12 19:24:48

Hey virgil,
thanks ill look up the subject access request.

No i was just asking as i was only there 6 weeks, temp contract to cover a sickness, and i didnt know the senior manager. im just trying to think of every situation. no problems with my last role - it was only short term role.

supermodel Mon 24-Sep-12 19:31:21

Suggest you contact ACAS who can give you information as they deal with employment law. They have a website and a helpline. There is also Equality and Human Rights Commission who can advise on discrimination issues.

Virgil Mon 24-Sep-12 22:11:12

There will be something in your reference that has rung alarm bells with the new employer. Have you had a lot of sickness? Did you exaggerate your past salary or duties? These are generally the sorts of things that make employers withdraw offers.

thecatsminion Mon 24-Sep-12 22:19:16

Try the Data Protection Act, rather than Freedom of Information. You should have the right to see it.

This happened to me and I raised hell and got the job in the end. If it was a temp role, have you tried speaking to your agency?

slambang Mon 24-Sep-12 22:28:10

You do not have the right to see the reference given about you from your previous employer. As Virgil said references are exempt.

However you do have the right to see any info held about you by the organisation that didn't emply you. So, if the employer that rejected you decides to keep those details on file you if request them. But chances are they won't keep them.

Is there any reason why you would have had a bad reference?

Btw it is a wrongly held belief by many people that employers 'can't give a bad reference.' They can and do.

annielouisa Mon 24-Sep-12 22:30:13

Did you perhaps set alarm bells ringing by not offering a reference from your most recent employment without being asked for it? All the jobs I have ever applied for have expected one reference to be from most recent or current employer either from HR or line manager.

holidaysarenice Mon 24-Sep-12 23:34:25

hey all,

thanks for the help, i'll give an update tomoro.
i didnt give them as my last employer because when i filled in the form id only been there about 10day and it was only to be for 3 weeks. i stayed a bit longer.

thanks all

ilovesooty Mon 24-Sep-12 23:37:28

You do not have the right to see the reference given about you from your previous employer. As Virgil said references are exempt. However you do have the right to see any info held about you by the organisation that didn't emply you

That's correct.

holidaysarenice Tue 25-Sep-12 00:19:03

thanks sooty!

do i just request this info or do i have to formally request it? i was thinking an email requesting for all infor that is held at the present moment? but i cant stop them destroying it, as it may not be policy to keep it?

thanks

ilovesooty Tue 25-Sep-12 00:26:39

I think I'd formally request it, but as you say, they might not have kept it.

ilovesooty Tue 25-Sep-12 00:29:45

The new company cannot rely on the exemption to cover a reference they have received from a third party but may tell you that it contains confidential opinion and then refuse to provide it on that basis

Actually, this is correct now I look back. Hopefully though you will get some feedback explaining what happened.

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