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Last employer won't give me a reference

(12 Posts)
Yorkshirelass2016 Tue 17-May-16 17:53:32

Hi, I have been offered a new job on the understanding I get satisfactory references from previous employers. 2 of my last employers are in the process of providing the references but my last employer hasn't responded to the request from my new job for a reference. i left my last job working my full notice, it was a small company and I reported into one of the owners. I worked very long hours and they didn't believe in paying overtime so was expected for you to do everything and anything they threw at you without any training or support and had no care for health and safety issues for their staff. I didn't enjoy working there or working for the owners to the point I left without a job. I did try and talk to the owners on a couple of occasions to flag my concerns but they weren't interested all they were bothered about was making money. I wasn't happy so I resigned formally and worked my full notice and have not spoken badly about them in interviews or anything so tried to be as professional as possible in what was for me difficult circumstances. They are now not providing a reference to my new employer. I don't know what to do in terms of my new employer or last one, has anyone else experience anything like this and have any advice ? Thank you

flowery Tue 17-May-16 18:30:50

Had they previously agreed to give you a reference?

Yorkshirelass2016 Tue 17-May-16 18:55:13

No that wasn't agreed flowery. I didn't get a formal contract Of employment

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 17-May-16 19:02:29

I don't believe they have any obligation to give you a reference. If they do it has to be factual.

I'd be talking to your new employer about whether they'll accept something else.

flowery Tue 17-May-16 19:43:49

You didn't get a contract from your old job or your new job?

Before leaving you should have checked with your manager that he/she was happy for his/her contact details to be given to future employers and that he/she would be happy to provide a reference if asked.

I would suggest you ring your old boss and rectify that, apologise for not checking, and finding out whether he/she will be providing a reference for you.

When you know the answer to that, you can decide how to play it with your new employers.

Yorkshirelass2016 Tue 17-May-16 20:10:32

My old employer, but as I mentioned flowery it wasn't the best place I've worked in my life. They were very difficult about me wanting to leave at all, asking for a reference wasn't something I could have discussed at the time. Yes I believe they don't have to supply a reference, however I don't think they are being asked for a personnel reference mearly to confirm I worked for them, which as an employer of people I see no reason why this is such a problem. Thanks for your advice I appreciate it

MegCleary Tue 17-May-16 20:16:09

From the CAB website also ACAS may be a good contact point.


Does my employer have to give me a reference?

Usually, you don't have a right to a reference from your employer. But your employer does have to give you a reference in some situations, for example:

if your contract says they have to give you a reference
where the reference is needed by a regulatory body. This might be a body like the Financial Conduct Authority so they can make sure people employed to give financial advice are qualified to do this.
There are different reasons why your employer might refuse to give you a reference. If you think your employer won't give you a reference for a reason related to your race, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief or gender reassignment this might be discrimination. You should get advice from an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.

flowery Tue 17-May-16 20:20:44

If things were so difficult that you didn't even feel you could ask whether they'd be happy to give a reference, then if you go ahead and give their contact details anyway that's unlikely to increase the chances of them feeling inclined to help you, to be honest. If your relationship with them was that bad it was risky just giving their details out as referees.

You're not going to find out what the problem is without ringing them, apologising for giving their contact details before checking, and seeing whether they are prepared to confirm basic dates of employment.

You're right, giving that information isn't a big deal (assuming that is all they are being asked for- most new employers ask for more than that), but the bottom line is whether you or I think it should be a problem is neither here nor there. It obviously is a problem for them, so if you need this reference my advice is to get on the phone and see if you can iron it out.

Yorkshirelass2016 Tue 17-May-16 21:19:12

Thanks a lot Magclearly.

Flowery like I said I appreciate your advice, all I asked was what would you do if you have been in a similar situation. Not sure whether you have or not from what you have written, I can't tell. I had to give the contact details because the new employer requested them. If I didn't have to do it I certainly wouldn't have done, as I mentioned I have other employers who would happily provide a reference but unfortunately for me they are my last employer and that's the contact details they wanted. I can't make them up, so I had to give their details. I'm certainly not going to ring and apologise for something I haven't done wrong, an employer should be able to provide a factual reference for an employee. It's surely a privilege to be in a position to employ staff, they should be treated with respect for there work. That's my opinion but it's doesn't change the situation. I did not give out private contact details merely business contact details that you could find anywhere. In any case like i said thanks flowery I get your point and thanks for taking the time to reply.

flowery Wed 18-May-16 06:23:56

No I haven't been in that situation before, no. But I've done an awful lot of recruitment and yes I would do as I have suggested you do.

Whether you think they should be giving you a reference or not doesn't matter. At the moment they are not doing so. If your new employer is perfectly happy to do without it, fine. But if they need it then you need to do what you can to get your old employers to do what you want. And the best way to do that is to ring them up and make nice.

It's all very well saying you don't think you did anything wrong giving them as a reference without checking first, and it's all very well saying you're "certainly not" going to phone them up. But if you don't, you may not get the reference you need, and your new employers make take no reference as meaning there was a problem with you, and there is a risk the job offer may be withdrawn. Up to you.

You could try and explain to your new employers first and see if they're happy to manage without it. If they are, great, but a missing reference from a most recent employer is a red flag so they may not be happy, in which case you'll have to decide whether to take steps to persuade your old employer to be helpful or walk away from the new job.

greenfolder Wed 18-May-16 06:31:32

I think that in your situation I would;

Ask nicely old employer to give a reference. It could just be down to lack of admin that hey haven't replied, rather than anything else.

Then I would find payslips or the relevant p60 to prove that I was employed by them for the period of time stated. I would forward that to the new employer and state something like previous employer was a small business, not got an hr dept but you have asked for them to send reference.

flowery Wed 18-May-16 08:33:04

Being pragmatic in these situations is always sensible I think. Consider what you want to achieve and work out the way you are most likely to achieve it. It's really that simple.

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