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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47381
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am working notice at my current job - I have two positions

Customer Question

I am working notice at my current job - I have two positions a) laundry assistant and I finished my notice period on Wednesday. My other position is weekend receptionist and I was due to leave this weekend. However I bad mouthed my company on facebook and they know about it and I am now not required to work the weekend although I will be paid. They have supplied my new employer with a standard reference already - are they able to tell my new employer what I have done?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
4 years and 3 months
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
please cancel telephone call did not realise it would cost more
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

No problem wil do and will reply later on today with my full response

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ASAP please Ben I am really worried!!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

I am in tribunal today so it will be later in the day, early evening most probably, thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. It is possible that they could advise the new employer of what happened. The issue is that you are still their employee and this happened whilst you were employed by them. So it is still a matter which relates to your employment with them. As such they can include it in a reference to a new employer, even if they have already provided one, meaning they can send an updated reference with details of this.

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 one relevant is from the case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd where 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. So if they did mot investigate the comments, who may have made them, why they have been made, etc then mentioning that in a reference could be negligent.

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. Also remember that there is no guarantee they will go back to the new employer at all because as far as they are concerned they have already provided a reference and may not be prompted to send a new updated one.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can follow should you need to take this further, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. in the event that you are going to seek compensation for an untrue reference, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Ben, one other thing - when I posted my comment I referred to my place of employment as "WH" I did not use the name of the home or the company - it was obvious to my friends (to whom I sent the post) where I was referring to but this is not a recognised abbreviation generally - would this make a difference to their legal rights?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hi there, if you worked for them, people knew that and it was easy to make the association between the initials and the workplace then it would not really make any difference. After all your friends knew who you were referring to and the whole point is that such comments are bad because they put the company in a bad light so if people already knew who you were referring to then the damage has been done and it would not really change the position

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