Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Whilst there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for past employees, if they choose to do so they will automatically owe them a duty to take reasonable care in the preparation of the reference. This basically requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than personal opinion.
Certain difficulties may arise, depending on the circumstances that have led to a particular reference. For example, in the case of Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney the court decided that the employer was not in breach of its duty of care to the employee by providing a reference which contained details of disciplinary proceedings which were pending when the employee left. An employer is under a duty of care to provide a reference that is true, accurate and fair and does not present facts so as to give a misleading impression overall. Therefore, if the employer had not included details of the disciplinary proceedings it would have failed in its duty to the prospective employer to provide a reference that was not unfair or misleading.
In the later case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd it was decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out an investigation and had reasonable grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place.
If some of the above conditions are met, the employer is unlikely to be acting unlawfully or negligently and can provide the reference in question. However, if it is obvious that incorrect facts have been relied on, the contents are false or evidently misleading, there may be a potential case for negligence against the employer and this matter could be taken further by seeking compensation due to negligence in the civil courts. If the employer refuses to deal with this directly with you then unfortunately you cannot force them to do anything or seek compensation without going to court.
I am sorry but i dont really understand what you are saying
how do i come back tomorrow after i have digested it
there was no misconduct and no indication of any worry about my standard of work
you can simply save the link to this page and come back to it any time, i would be happy to answer any questions you may have
I am seeking advice on what course is open to me....for example will acas assist and if so how or will an employment tribunal be feasible and if so how do i initiate it. my interpretation of what you say is that my only course of action is to claim via civil court....what relevance is there that there was absolutely no previous warning that this person was not satisfied with my work.
ACAS will not necessarily be able to help with this. Their services are only free if this matter was to go to a tribunal but this is not the case here because you cannot make such a claim in the employment tribunal. It is not possible to challenge a reference in the employment and you can only make a claim for negligence in the county court. So whilst you can use them for mediation they will charge for this service.
An employer does not have to give prior warning of issues before they mention them in a reference but the key is still whether the contents of the reference were truthful as that is all that is required by the employer
Ben Sorry to continue being a "thicky" but does the fact that there is only this one manager who wrote this (the other manager completely supports me) and that I regularly supervised and cared for 15 clients at a time constitute sufficient for me to claim this person made an incorrect statement on my reference? (initiative / constant requirement for supervision)
No problem, I am here to clarify any queries you have. I cannot comment whether the contents of the reference are truthful and whether you actually have a case to take further. I obviously do not know the facts and whether the reference conveys the truth or not. You have to decide that because you are the only one that knows if this is the case. However, if the employer cannot provide evidence to back up the reference and even more so, if there is evidence to show that the reference was not correct, then that could be potentially negligent
Ben Thankyou, so essentially i need to query my ex employer and request that they justify that part of the reference? the rest of it being fine.
yes that is correct, you should first try and resolve this directly with the employer. Tell them what you disagree with and ask them to change it. You may even state that you believe their comments are negligent. Legal action should always be seen as a last resort