Republic of Ireland Law
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1. Dear Mark, you can sue for negligence if the verbal reference being given is not borne out by the facts and is driven by some ulterior motive. However, be aware that these actions are difficult to win, as employers are given a wide latitude in the opinion they can hold as regards ***** ***** So, you need to be able to pin down where the reference is incorrect.
2. The second limb of any strategy to deal with this situation is to simply not give the name of this employer in any CV. An employer is not obliged to give any reference so the institution of legal proceedings usually results in the employer refusing to provide any reference at all.
3. However, it is in your favour that the employer is changing what they say when asked verbally. This shows an element of bad faith in that the employer is misleading when verbally asked as compared with the written reference they have provided.
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5. I would advise you get a solicitor to formally write to him regarding the bad verbal reference. However, if you believe he would listen to you, then you could speak with him yourself. However, this is only something you can judge.