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DP has been given an APALLING verbal reference

(35 Posts)
bratnav Wed 09-Jul-08 13:38:14

But the person wished to remain un-named and would not give any reference in writing. Basically this has caused MAJOR problems with the potential job he is going for. She has totallt assassinated all his skills, character etc.

The other 5 referees have been confirmed as giving nothing short of spectacular references, but the company have a policy of only offering employment with 100% good references.

DP now has a meeting with the new company tomorrow to discuss to see if there is any way round this. We know who it is as the other 5 referees have bcc'd DP in on the references they sent.

Is there anything we can do (short of stabbing this awful bitch with a blunt instrument). What makes us even more furious is that the referees company made DP redundant, so absolutely not his fault he left.

bratnav Wed 09-Jul-08 13:47:45

bump, anyone?

bruxeur Wed 09-Jul-08 13:50:56

Pretty sure this is illegal behaviour on her part and would look very bad in an industrial tribunal, if not the courts for defamation of character. She probably knows bad references are illegal, which is why she's not committing anything to paper.

CAB. This is worth fighting.

WRT the current application - full honesty, explain all - hopefully they'll be able to bend the rule on 100% refs if they know the full story - fact that she will not put to paper weakens her case, and they should recognise this.

Were you expecting a bad reference from this woman?

bruxeur Wed 09-Jul-08 13:52:58

Hang on - just re-read - anonymous, verbal slagging off? That's not a reference, that's slander. If the new company attach any weight at all to it, that's a pretty bad sign in itself.

Does your DP have a union? This would be a bonanza for a decent union legal rep.

zephyrcat Wed 09-Jul-08 13:53:09

Employers are not allowed to give a bad reference like that. They can refuse to give one I thnk but not give a bad one.

What has she got against your DP??

Definately take it further.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 09-Jul-08 13:54:47

He had to provide six references?

And I'm surprised about the verbal reference too.

Northbynortheast Wed 09-Jul-08 13:57:10

The fact that there is going to be a meeting is good news as the new company obviuosly wants your dp so is looking for ways round its own bureaucracy. This is only a verbal reference so do they have the option to simply ignore it? Are the other 5 references from people in the same company or previous employers? If the same company then they have covered their need to get references from that employer. If not, is there anyone else in this company who could give your dp a more helpful reference.

A company I used to work for will only give references which confirm job title, length of service and salary on leaving as they are so scared of getting sued - I hesitate to suggest you sue this company as it won't do much good for meeting tomorrow but may be an option in the future if your dp's propects have been seriuosly damaged by this woman. Do you have family legal protection included in your house insurance?

batters Wed 09-Jul-08 14:06:56

blimey - 6 references - what sort of job is your dp going for?

IF I were the company I would refuse to recognise a verbal only reference from someone who wished to remain anonymous.

Agree with northbynortheast re family legal protection, we have used this a few times.

bratnav Wed 09-Jul-08 14:17:30

It is a very senior role, they only asked for 2 references, but he sent them a list of people to choose from.

DP would have never expected a bad reference from this person, he worked for them as a consultant for 6 months, they were so impressed they offered him a perm contract, we moved towns for them. 9 months later they are selling the company and make 8 people including DP redundant with no warning whatsoever.

The only thing that we can think of is that because DP forced them to pay all of the redundancy money he was entitled to. DP has spoken to a colleague who knows this woman well, and she said that it is definitely the sort of thing she would do.

But in the meantime, if DP doesn't get this role, he has also sent this persons details off with 3 other roles, so she could well and truly balls up his career.

What can I/we do in practical terms NOW?

Thanks for all your replies btw

bratnav Wed 09-Jul-08 14:19:48

Oh, all the other references were for 5 different companies that DP has worked for throughout his career, this witch was for the most recent company

bruxeur Wed 09-Jul-08 14:26:20

You can't do anything NOW apart from the above - reiterate to new company the circumstances of his departure, why the reference was bad, and give them ALL the details - like you have just given us.

In the longer term - see if you have legal protection as above, call union/CAB if not, don't give out her details any more! Call other companies and ask them not to use her as a reference - explain why.

Mrsaek Wed 09-Jul-08 14:34:52

Dh had exactly the same thing happen when he changed jobs on 2000. He new who gave him the bad reference (and was bemused as to why he had done it). He spoke to his new employer and was completely honest with them. He also pointed out that he did not need to give them that specific reference, and why would he have added them if he thought they would bad mouth him. He got the job, and the company that had bad mouthed him eventually went bankrupt. Hope your DH can sort it out and gets the job =0)

Bink Wed 09-Jul-08 14:38:32

Can I just say, please - it's a bugbear of mine - that "bad references" are NOT "illegal".

The real position is that, if you give someone a bad reference, and it is unjustified (ie, not true), it gives them a case for suing you for libel. But if a bad reference is justified, it is perfectly "legal".

However, there is so much risk in someone possibly trying to sue for libel (however justified the bad reference) that the practice has developed of the "bare-bones" reference ("X worked here from y to z dates, in the capacity of ABC.")

Anyway - in this case, it's pretty obvious that the person is giving an untrue reference, and has done so only verbally in order to escape bratnav's dh having a case for libel. So I think the obvious course for his new company - if they want him - is to ask this referee to put her reference IN WRITING - and if she refuses, well, there's your answer - she isn't standing by it and it can be disregarded.

Kewcumber Wed 09-Jul-08 14:39:15

employers can only give bad references if they are true ansd you are aware of the issues they mention eg raised in an appraisal.

I would be temtped to get your DH to get a solictior to wrtie her a letter asking her to provide a transcript of any vrebal refernces she has given with justification of the commetns made and also asking her to refrain from giving any future refences on him vrbal or written until this legal matter has been resolved.

Probably has no legal weight behind it but would surely put the wind up her.

Thast what I'd do, but them I'm a vindictive bitch.

Kewcumber Wed 09-Jul-08 14:39:30

x posted with Bink there.

Pavlovthecat Wed 09-Jul-08 14:39:55

I agree that an anonymous verbal negative reference - is not a reference at all.

I would suggest that your DH advises his new employers that he does not consider this as a suitable reference and that he would be happy to supply an alternative reference from another person.

And remind them that he did not lose this job, he was made redundant and seek advice in case they withdraw the job offer on the basis of this 'reference'.

They will be unable to withdraw the offer legally. If this person continues to refuse to provide a legal reference, your new employers should either go on the ones you have, or request an alternative.

nooka Wed 09-Jul-08 14:43:48

Six references? Wow - I've never taken up more than two. I think you need Flowery on this one, but surely one reference who wouldn't even put her views into writing or her name to them should count for less than five formal ones.

flowerybeanbag Wed 09-Jul-08 14:49:26

What bink said. So many people think/give advice stating that bad references are illegal, they are not. As long as a reference doesn't give a misleading overall impression and is based on evidence that can be substantiated, it is fine for it to be negative. Most employers don't, because of the hassle that is bound to follow giving a reference like that - easier to give very basic information.

It is positive that your DH's new employers want to meet him and try and find a solution - they obviously still want to employ him as they have not withdrawn the offer. I expect they very sensibly realise this is not a constructive helpful reference and feel it can probably be disregarded as sour grapes from someone but need to check with your DH first to make sure there are no outstanding issues.

DH should go to the meeting, remember that they offered him the job because they liked him and wanted him, and see if they can come up with a plan together. Possibly asking this woman to put her comments in writing, possibly giving an alternative reference. If there are 6 referees there should be plenty of positive comments among that lot to counteract any negative impression given by this silly woman.

jumpingbeans Wed 09-Jul-08 14:50:43

I thought you were not able to give a bad reference, you could refuse to give one, which amounts to the same thing, but you could not actualy give a bad one, and then not even sign it, I would ignore it and treat it as the spitefull, childish rubbish it is, esp with the other glowing ones

bratnav Wed 09-Jul-08 15:42:35

Thank you all so much for your advice.

DP has emailed them with an alternative reference for the same company. Currently the new employer have withdrawn their offer, but surely if they are willing to meet again this is a good sign (esp as they know we live 180 miles away).

ACAS suggested contacting the woman directly, explaining that we know about the bad reference (and that it wasn't new employer who told us who it was) and suggesting that we will consider legal action for defamation/slander unless she withdraws her untrue comments and provides at least a factual reference.

What do you think?

Kewcumber Wed 09-Jul-08 15:46:19

Absolutely do that - people who give vindictive and untrue references deserve to get some fall out.

bratnav Wed 09-Jul-08 15:49:57

TBH I'm not far off dashing round there myself with a brick in my handbag angry

Re the call/letter to her, I suppose it would be better to wait until after the meeting tomorrow, just so she can't call and arse things up even more?

tigger15 Thu 10-Jul-08 12:31:59

Yes to all that's been said before and also possible actions against the woman are in negligence and defamation. The loss to be claimed would be the difference between loss of this job and any other where they're influenced by her reference and the job he is able to get given the reference. This could be quite substantial and should be outlined expressly in the letter.

bratnav Thu 10-Jul-08 20:38:37

Well he went for the meeting, he was in for an hour and a half.

They called him half an hour after he got out and OFFERED HIM THE JOB ANYWAY grin grin grin

So the property search continues, we are off to Richmond after all.

Thank you all for your help, I showed DP all your replies and he said that all your convictions that it was unacceptable as a reference really bolstered his confidence in slamming it in the meeting.

Thank you so much

bratnav Thu 10-Jul-08 20:39:33

Oh and as soon as he starts he will be demanding official confirmation and suing the bitch (or something)

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