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Employer from 12 years ago to give a really bad (but probably legal) reference.

(11 Posts)
Pringlepoo Wed 06-Dec-17 12:39:06

Help?

I got sacked 12 years ago after working at Company A for 5 years with no issues. I moved into a new job there, couldn't do it and was sacked within 4 months. No gross misconduct or anything like that.

They provided a reference for a new job a few months later which was awful and only reflected my final 4 months. It resulted in the job offer being revoked. I can't remember exactly what it said but it was vindictive and personal although from memory it just managed to stay on the factual side so was legal.

I got another job at company B and managed to persuade them not to ask Company A for a reference. I worked there for 12 years. The references should be OK.

4 months ago I moved to a new job at Company C. As part of the recruitment process I was asked if I've ever been sacked. I told the truth.

I gave references from Company B and a few voluntary roles over the last few years. The recruitmemt progressed so I assumed all was OK given how long ago it was and that I have more recent references.

Now Company C have called me telling me they must have a reference from Company A. I won't be able to avoid it this time.

I'm still in my trial period at Company C and employment was based on satisfactory references. If the reference Company A give is anything like the one they gave before I will be sacked/let go/whatever.

I don't want to approach Company A in case it gives them the "heads up".

Indivual staff cannot give references, it has to be officially from the company.

Any tips on reducing the impact of this?

I'm really gutted. I thought I had been able to move on from something which happened over a decade ago. sad

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 06-Dec-17 12:42:00

I would tell the company you work for exactly what you have said here if you feel comfortable with doing so.

However, it is possible after all this time that there is nooone who knows you from then and they will merely give a Pringlepoo worked at Company A between (dates) as a (job title).

EBearhug Wed 06-Dec-17 12:44:40

If it's a company one, it might be no more than, "Pringlepoo was employed here by Company A from 2000 to 2005," especially after a decade. So it's possible it could be better, because it won't have any detail.

In any case, it seems you won't get the job without it, so you need to just bite the bullet. Good luck!

Ermm Wed 06-Dec-17 12:49:16

I thought there was some sort of case law in the UK where you could sue if they gave a bad reference? Might we worth checking on HR/legal board

Polarbearflavour Wed 06-Dec-17 15:18:33

I’m quite surprised they do references from 12 years ago?!

NHS do 3 years and the Civil Service and financial services 5 years. Jobs that require developed vetting clearance do 10 years. confused

gonnabreakmyrustycage Wed 06-Dec-17 15:25:03

I would just ask for a letter confirming dates of employment if possible.

prh47bridge Wed 06-Dec-17 19:10:09

I thought there was some sort of case law in the UK where you could sue if they gave a bad reference

No there is not. That is a common myth. Provided a reference is accurate and truthful the company giving the reference is in the clear. However, many employers won't give a bad reference as the ex-employee could take action if it is not 100% accurate. Even if the employee loses the company could end up substantially out of pocket as the employee is unlikely to be able to afford to pay the company's costs in full.

Pringlepoo - I suspect after all this time your ex-employer will only give a factual reference - dates employed, job title and similar. However, the safest thing to do would be to have a chat with your current employer about it. You've already told them you were sacked by Company A. You spent 12 years at Company B so you clearly aren't a problem employee. Most employers are aware that references cannot always be trusted. Better to warn them in advance than have to explain why the reference was bad when they've already seen it.

Pringlepoo Wed 06-Dec-17 19:25:26

Allthebest - I had to tell them during my recruitment. There isn't much else I can add.

The previous reference was an official one from the organisation but it was definately written by the people involved in my capability and it was point scoring from my manager and/or the HR person involved. I would imagine that my manager is still there but I don't know that the company would ask her now and what appatite she/HR would have to be so vindictive all these years later.

EBeanBug - I'm desperately hoping that is all they will provide either because it's the current policy or because it was so long ago but instinctively I think they'll provide more.

Errmm - no, as long as it's factual it's perfectly legal. From memory, they just stopped short of crossing that line.

Polarbear - I know. sad All I can think is that they want more information about the circumstances of me leaving. Even then, it's so long ago and I've provided more up to date references I don't know what they have to gain.

Do you mean those organisations only require references covering those periods, or that they only provide references for staff who left in those periods?

Gonnabreak - Company C want to contact them. I have no option to influence what they ask for / is provided.

Polarbearflavour Wed 06-Dec-17 19:35:13

Organisations generally only require your work references for the past 3-5 years. Very odd to want one from 12 years ago!

Will the company even have your staff details from 12 years ago I wonder?!

Iprefercoffeetotea Thu 07-Dec-17 18:15:08

Your current company want a reference about a job you did for 4 months 12 years ago?

I suspect it will only be a factual one like other people have said. Last time you got a reference from them it was much more recent, I don't think they'll be bothered about giving you a bad reference now, even if the same people are still there, and even if they can remember you/have your details still.

ThisTime81 Thu 07-Dec-17 18:21:29

I recently had a conflict with references and asked my previous to send me the details directly, you can ask for confirmation of your dates of employment which is all a new employer really needs.

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