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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47371
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Jones we spoke recently about the reference that led

Customer Question

For Ben Jones we spoke recently about the reference that led to my job offer being withdrawn. How shall I phrase the e-mail to my bosses that essentially says I will be taking the legal route. Is it the case that if one of them said my work ranged from poor to excellent they need to have evidence of a written warning regarding the poor work?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello I can certainly help with this but drafting letters is a premium service so will be charged additionally. If you want this then I can certainly send over a quote for consideration
Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben ok please send a quote
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben will you send a quote? Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben I just got a quote of 34 pounds to my e-mail address. Is that the figure? If so I am happy to pay that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just seen its forty three ok
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks I will get this over to you Later today
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben. Just to add although the second reference was fine my bosses clearly conferred because they suggested a probation period in my next job to see if I can manage in the role. They haven't evidenced why I would need this. Also am I taking legal action with my supervisor Nicky's employer (The NHS) or Nicky? Do I write the letter you are drafting to my boss or NHS HR?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your patience. Please find attached suggested wording for a letter to the employer:Dear [name]I write further to the reference dated [date] issued by you to [name of new employer]. I have a number of concerns with this because I do not believe that its contents were a true and accurate representation of my capabilities and could potentially amount to a negligent reference.I specifically wish to draw your attention to the comments which suggested my performance during my time with you was at times poor and that I sometimes did not follow up actions agreed in supervision. I disagree with these statements and am surprised that no examples were provided to back these allegations. I was never taken through any formal performance or capability procedures and certainly do not recall being reprimanded at the time or given the opportunity to challenge them or improve.As you can imagine, making such unfounded negative comments in a reference for a new employer can have serious detrimental effects on my employment opportunities. I would therefore request that the reference is amended and these unfounded comments are removed. In the event that the reference is left unchanged or with misleading information, I will have no other option but to consider formal legal action under the tort of negligence and seek compensation for losses incurred as a result of this reference. Whilst this is something I wish to avoid it will be pursued as necessary to safeguard my future employment opportunities.I look forward to hearing from you.Yours sincerely[name]I Suggest you send that to tour manager responsible for sending the reference and if it ends up in legal action then it would be the employer you make the claim against, not the manager personally.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, thanks for this. My supervisor did mention in an appraisal that there were inconsistencies in my report writing that she and my other supervisor were "concerned" about but my other supervisor didn't mention these in the reference just said an area of improvement was report writing. Nicky also said over the last few months my writing has been good to excellent. I have written proof of this. I certainly have not been taken through any formal procedures and for her to mention past performance in my writing seems unnecessary and has sabotaged my job offer. Should I mention anything about them both suggesting a probationary period and on what grounds they base this on? Also should I say my job offer has been withdrawn on the basis of her reference?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Yes you can certainly ask about the probationary period and on what grounds they have recommended this. As to the withdrawal of the job, perhaps change the last paragraph as follows: As you can imagine, making such unfounded negative comments in a reference for a new employer can have serious detrimental effects on my employment opportunities. In fact it has already led to a withdrawal of a formal job application so I am already suffering the consequences of this. I would therefore request that the reference is amended and these unfounded comments are removed. In the event that the reference is left unchanged or with misleading information, I will have no other option but to consider formal legal action under the tort of negligence and seek compensation for losses incurred as a result of this reference, which are already accruing. Whilst this is something I wish to avoid it will be pursued as necessary to safeguard my future employment opportunities.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben that's really helpful. I may be in touch to ask a couple more questions tomorrow
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
No worries
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben. I have added a couple of things in. Can you let me know your thoughts? The added comments and questions are all in bracketsDear [name]I write further to the reference dated [date] issued by you to [name of new employer]. I have a number of concerns with this because I do not believe that its contents are a true and accurate representation of my capabilities and could potentially amount to a negligent reference.I specifically wish to draw your attention to the comments where you suggested my performance during my time with you was at times poor and that I sometimes did not follow up actions agreed in supervision. I disagree with these statements and am surprised that no examples were provided to back these allegations (she might have examples of old reports she needed to correct but she has certainly never said to me my performance was poor). I was never taken through any formal performance or capability procedures and certainly do not recall being reprimanded at the time or given the opportunity to challenge them or improve. (For example, you have never described my report writing as ‘poor’ to me, indeed complimented me on it recently, and certainly never instituted any formal proceedings, or issued any written warnings (I need to check whether she has written in an appraisal that my report writing is poor but I am almost 100 percent sure she hasn't. If she wrote anything negative in an appraisal would this count as a written warning?) to have me correct this aspect of my performance).As you can imagine, making such unbalanced, selective and negative comments in a reference for a new employer can have has had serious detrimental effects on my employment opportunities. Specifically, my job offer has been rescinded as a direct result of your reference. I would therefore request that the reference is amended and these comments which do not give an accurate reflection of my current performance are removed (and re-submitted to Brenda? my future employer). In the event that the reference is left unchanged or left containing misleading information and not resubmitted to the future employer (don’t know if this is possible/procedural, I'm going to ask Brenda about this, but there's not point in her changing it, if it doesn't’ get resubmitted, it seems to me – but I can still go after her for what she has written)., I will have no other option but to consider formal legal action under the tort of negligence and seek compensation for losses incurred as a result of this reference. Whilst this is obviously something I wish to avoid it will be pursued as necessary to safeguard my future employment opportunities. I also have some of the contents of the reference with comments about how inappropriate and misleading it is. Is it ok to send those over to see whether adding them in will add to the letter?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi, all fine on the amendments, a written warning does not include anything negative in an appraisal - this needs to have been issued to you following a formal disciplinary. You can say that you wish to have a new reference re-issued t the employer with clarification that the initial one as incorrect
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, there has been a change in that I spoke to my new employer today who said they have made up their mind and they won't look at a new reference. So basically there's no point asking her to amend the reference.Do I go straight to her employer now saying I am starting legal proceedings? In addition will you read some stuff I want to say regarding what she wrote about me? It is as follows... In > are her comments in the reference and below are mine. I would like to add these into the letter do you think that will be good? Please see below:<<Please note that the above are an appraisal of her skills etc as an Assistant Psychologist – as such it would not be appropriate for her to work unsupervised or to be in a management role, and I have therefore marked these as N/A.My new employer know what my current role is. It is not for her to assess/comment upon whether I can work unsupervised or in a mgt role. How can she assess this? And no-one asked her to! That’s for my future employers to assess/decide. Just because she is appraising me as an assistant, why on earth does this lead her to say it would be ‘inappropriate for me to work unsupervised .. .etc’ in the first sentence!! Primacy effect . . . they probably didn’t need to read any more – or it wouldn’t have taken away the effect of this first sentence.>This is not a fair or accurate description of my current ability. I have got reams of e-mails from her telling me the quality of my reports is good.>Which times? This isn't accurate either because it is not at other times. This statement is an accurate reflection of my current ability and she has referred to old (and very spurious) data to suggest that I have worked poorly in the past (again she has never said that to me).>So why bother to mention the historic stuff?? References are about behaviour now . . and going forward.>What is the point of this wondering? The sentence doesn’t even hang together . . .How does it help me or the future employer?>These conversations did take place but there was never any formal procedure she just asked me to reflect on why I performed so well and at other times didn't focus so well. I am concerned she could use this verbal conversation in court (she never wrote up the appraisal) but it's her word against mine.Could you comment on what I've written, let me know whether I can add it in and whether she has a leg to stand on legally having written such negative information about me with no written warnings? In addition could you let me know where to go from here regarding writing to her or her employer now that her amending the reference won't make any difference. Many thanks. Kind regards, India
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
If they will not change their mind then you will have to consider the legal route as that is now the only option. However, you have a duty to try and reduce any losses so you must be able to show that in the meantime you are still making all possible attempts to find other employment. There is nothing wrong with making these additional comments and asking for direct clarification from the author of the reference. You may want to do this first anyway to see what the reasoning behind this was before you decide on how and if to take this further.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Shall I send the letter to her anyway then and just take out the bit about amending the reference? What is the purpose of writing to her if there won't be a change in the reference that will make a difference. Is the letter just to say that I am taking this further? I definitely want to. How shall I amend it to say I'm taking it further?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben I have just seen that none of her comments from the reference copied! Also is it possible to go down a grievance route via The NHS to get a better reference and settle that way or do I have to go the legal route straight away?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
hi yes sorry forgot to say that if you no loner need the reference to be amended you do not need that part. You may still need a reference in the future so the letter will serve as a reminder not to issue such references again. If you simply want to inform her that you are taking this further then you say so by saying something along the lines of 'the damage that this reference has caused me leaves me with no other option but to take the matter further and seek legal recourse'. If you are no longer employed by this employer then you cannot use the grievance route
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben I am still employed by the same employer (the NHS) so can I go the grievance route? If so do I say I am taking legal recourse or going the NHS grievance route? And do I them contact NHS HR re the grievance? Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben. I cannot find the appraisal she wrote bout me in 2014. Do you think it is ok to ask her to e-mail it to me? I am concerned she will get suspicious and change something in it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will definitely not be asking her for a reference again so it is just to seek damages regarding the recent reference
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am going to finalise a draft of the letter today and send it over later for you to check is that ok?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Not sure abut the NHS as it may depend n which trust you are working in - if you are still with the same one then you could use the grievance, if you have changed trusts then it will be classified as a different employer. You can ask for a copy of your appraisal - you have the right to see this under data protection laws. Send over a draft when ready, I will take look
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben I'm concerned she'll change it though (am I being suspicious or paranoid?)do you think just go ahead and ask her for it. I am with the same trust
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I really cannot say if she will change it or not, doing so will be unlawful so hopefully it won't happen so just request it
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, I am meeting the supervisor who gave me a bad reference for supervision on Friday morning. I am going to express to her my feelings, does she know what she has done?, the job offer has been rescinded because of the appalling reference she wrote etc. Where do I stand legally with this? I will not be saying anything to her I won't be saying in a grievance procedure or court room. Thanks, India
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello plese clarify what questions you have about this, I am a bit unclear sorry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben I just wonder if I meet with her and tell her that the reference she provided has meant my job offer has been rescinded, that what she wrote was inaccurate and biased, etc. whether this will damage my legal case. A couple of non-solicitors have advised me not to meet with her on my own or say to her what I feel about the reference in case she turns it round, says i attacked her or something. But it is illegal to lie like that and I just want to assertively say how she has kiboshed my next career move. Is it ok to talk with her about how she has written an inaccurate biased reference without damaging my case?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi, there is nothing stopping you from meeting with her and voicing your concerns about the reference. It should not affect your legal position because regardless of what happens there, the legal position is already established as the reference has been issued. You could record the meeting secretly, you do not need her consent to do this and it could come in handy in the event of a dispute. But yes, if you feel the need to see her in person and discuss the contents of the reference you may do so without prejudicing your position.

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