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Can employers give a bad reference?

(23 Posts)
Yorkiegirl Thu 23-Dec-04 13:00:08

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pixiefish Thu 23-Dec-04 13:02:11

Doesn't a reference have to be truthful? I know of one employer who gave a bad verbal reference cos he didn't want to lose the staff member- didn't work cos she got a different job anyway

Yorkiegirl Thu 23-Dec-04 13:03:02

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pixiefish Thu 23-Dec-04 13:03:34


nailpolish Thu 23-Dec-04 13:03:40

hi yorkie did he ask to see the reference? i think hes entitled, and if he disagrees, he can argue his case.

i think if an employer doesnt want to give a ref cos they dont have anything nice to say, they do usually turn it down.

maybe his current employer doesnt want him to leave!

nailpolish Thu 23-Dec-04 13:04:36

oops crossed posts!

pixiefish Thu 23-Dec-04 13:04:48

i think if it was a written one and it was untruthful then your friend's dh has some recourse in law- someone else will help with that though. perhaps he should explain to the new company what he thinks and think of someone else to act as a referee

Yorkiegirl Thu 23-Dec-04 13:04:54

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nailpolish Thu 23-Dec-04 13:05:48

its difficult though cos most ask for 2 references, and 1 has to be from your current employer

IwigitcouldbeXmaseveryday Thu 23-Dec-04 13:06:18

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Yorkiegirl Thu 23-Dec-04 13:08:09

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FestiveFrex Thu 23-Dec-04 13:10:16

References which pass from one employer to another are covered by what is known as qualified privilege. This means that an employer can probably say what s/he likes about an employee. However s/he must not:-

give any information about convictions that have been spent

maliciously make false statements

negligently make a wrong statement. The House of Lords has decided that an employer giving a reference about an employee owes her/him a duty of care. This means the employer could be sued for negligence if the reference/testimonial contains inaccuracies which result in the employee suffering a loss.

You really need to see the reference and decide whether it contains untrue/defamatory statements.

Yorkiegirl Thu 23-Dec-04 13:11:02

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DissLocated Thu 23-Dec-04 13:34:09

Can be very difficult to get copies of the reference though. Notoriously difficult area of legislation and is why many companies now give factual references only, ie confirm job titles, dates of employment etc and will not give opinions on the quality of the candidate.

IwigitcouldbeXmaseveryday Thu 23-Dec-04 14:19:25

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TwasTheNightBeforeXmasOwl Fri 24-Dec-04 03:22:57

when i was unfairly dismissed/made redundant there were a few heated discussion between myself and the bosses. my immediate supervisor (boss's wife) then told me she would give me a stinking reference. acas told me they couldnt do this...which i told my supervisor. they did not provide me with a reference after i had worked there without problem for eight years. i wrote a letter requesting one and asking that they be fair. they then sent me an absolutely terrible reference..very cleverly done. it didnt actually say anything bad about me but all the same it contained "miss x has worked for us for such and such a time and did at last manage to grasp most of the work she was requested to do" amongst other things. this was totally untrue and very spiteful on their part..and it would have been better for me to have no reference at all as it turned out. now i have to show this horrible thing to future (possible) employers and i wish i had never asked for it. the way they worded it makes me look like an incompetant fool. (which i hasten to add, i was not)

pixiefish Fri 24-Dec-04 08:58:01

twas- you don't have to show it do you. You could tell any future possible employer about the problem you had at the end and supply a different reference. Do you perhaps know anyone who could give you a good personal reference

WideWebWitch Fri 24-Dec-04 10:06:15

I know someone (friend's dh) who was paid off (25k in his case) because a bad reference led to his being dismissed once he'd started a new job. This was an out of court settlement though prior to legal action, plus the guy had the press involved and the company in question just wanted shot of the problem. I'd say this is v rare though. Many companies, one of my previous employers included, won't give references as they are so worried about litigation - they will only confirm employment dates and final salary. This is a global American corp. I still have contact details of several of my bosses there though and use these people as referees (with their permission). Can your friend's dh do this? Get a line manager to give a reference?

helsi Fri 24-Dec-04 13:36:35

When DH found out that new job had been withdrawn he had already handed notice in as didn't think there wiuld have been a problem. Solicitor has said that he thinks we have a case.
he has walked out of his job now telling the employer that solicitor will be in touch. I support him as how can her work for someone over Xmas knowing what he has done.
Boss apparently is now bad mouthing him saying he was the worst chef ever (even though he bought them all a meal recently thanking them for increasing profits) and telling customers that dh is on a plane to Tenerife to start a new life.

only downside is that I have come back to work full time from yesterday and he has no job now.

jingleballs Fri 24-Dec-04 13:42:10

I didn't think they could do it, they can refuse to thou if I remeber rightly.

Yorkiegirl Fri 24-Dec-04 14:08:10

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helsi Mon 24-Jan-05 12:37:19

Brief update in case anyone else can help.

We contacted the Information Commissioners Office who are looking into getting the employer that he would have gone to work for to release a copy of the reference. Under the data protection Act they may have to do that. So depending on what it is the reference we haven't yet decided on what to do with reagrd to taking the ex-employer to court yet.
Nearly a onth and all this just to get hold of the flippin reference!!!

Marina Mon 24-Jan-05 12:43:47

They are legally obliged to disclose it so very sorry to hear they are dragging their heels. Good luck with this helsi.

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