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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45351
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I recently received a reference from my supervisor

Customer Question

For Kasare, I recently received a reference from my supervisor that I feel was unfair and did not reflect my abilities. As a result my conditional job offer of clinical psychologist was revoked. I have had no warnings at work and the reference I feel was unfairly negative what are my legal rights and where do I go from here?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Hello it appears that Kasare is offline but I am an employment lawyer and I can certainly assist you with this query if you need an answer now?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello yes please I would be grateful
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I received two references and one was pretty good but clearly they had put their heads together because both suggested a probationary period in my next job to see how I do. There is no evidence of why they suggest this ...
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Was that the only negative thing in it?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi the other reference said my performance went from poor to excellent (but clarified that in recent months I have produced good work) it said I sometimes didn't follow up actions agreed in supervision there were no examples of this and I can think of 1or 2 minor things that at the times were not flagged as an issue she just said no worries can't do everything. She said she couldn't comment on whether I could be unsupervised or do a management role because my current role was assistant and didn't require management or to be unsupervised
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The poor performance was regarding a couple of reports that needing correcting she referred to them needing significant corrections and help with flow and reporting on the client presentation "in the room" would it be helpful to forward you them? Could you send an e-mail address if so?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The other good reference said an area of improvement was report writing but that's not a reason to not get a job
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
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 its preparation. This requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than just personal opinion. Certain principles have been established through case law over the years and the main points can be summarised as follows: 1. In the case of Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney the employer provided a reference which contained details of disciplinary proceedings which were pending at the time the employee left. The court decided that the employer had not breached its duty of care by providing such a reference as it would have a duty 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, or any other issues for that matter, it would have failed in its duty to the prospective employer to provide a reference that was not unfair or misleading. 2. In the later case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd the employer provided a reference that contained details of an employee's alleged misconduct. However, they did not properly investigate these before providing the reference and the employee challenged the information in it. The court 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. This can be applied to other matters forming part of a reference, not just issues of misconduct. So if it is obvious that incorrect facts have been relied on, the contents are false or misleading, there may be a potential case for negligence against the employer and this matter could be taken further by seeking compensation in the county court for any damages caused. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can take should you decide to progress this, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45351
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Thank you. There are a couple of options – direct resolution with the employer or a court claim for negligence and seeking compensation for any losses. Of course the first is the preferred one, assuming the situation is salvageable with the new employer. For example if you approach the old one and state that you are treating this as a negligent reference and ask them to issue a new corrected reference which you can give to the new employer that may be a good way out. However, if the new employer will no longer consider you because of what they have already seen then that may not be that useful. In these circumstances you could consider a negligence claim, which you must submit in the county court using form N1. You may wish to see a civil litigation lawyer for assistance on that.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello that is really helpful thank you. So my first step is approaching my supervisor and saying I am approaching it as a negligent reference. I will put it in writing outlining my feelings about why it's negligent. I'm pretty sure my new employer won't reconsider. I'll contact a civil litigation lawyer
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
yes that is correct

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