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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49816
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My former employer, Santander, have given me a negative ref

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My former employer, Santander, have given me a negative ref 3 years after leaving them. It's states I left pending Stage 3 disciplinary.
I have now obtained all relevant documents from them and it states that I only had an "informal interview" prior to to them setting a date for a stage 3 disciplinary. They did not give me prior notice that meeting was part of a disciplinary and they did not offer me a right to have representation at the meeting. There is even an email where they state "there is no need to get the union involved".
Do I have grounds to get them to take this disciplinary off my reference?
Many thanks
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Surely that is a pending matter though?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo,I actually left Santander 3.5 years ago. When I left I was verbally told that nothing would show on my ref. I moved to Principality BS and, just as they'd said, my Santander ref was clean (I have managed to obtain a copy of this). I was head-hunted from Principality in October and, after a glowing ref from them, I left to join Mortgage Advice Bureau. 2 weeks ago MAB in formed me that they had received a very late ref from Santander, now stating "Resigned pending stage 3 disciplinary"Santander HR have now sent me every email and letter relating to my case. It does show that they issued me stating they were going to pursue a Stage 3 disciplinary hearing but it also proves that i had no formal interview prior to this and, as I mentioned in my first email, no offer to have anyone present at the "informal interview".
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry Jo, I've read your question again, yes it was a pending matter. I had not attended a Stage 3 disciplinary hearing. Is that what you were asking?Gary
Was the Stage 3 due to take place before or after you'd left?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I left on July 29th 2012 and the hearing was set for August 7th. There are also emails dated August 1st from the Regulated Manager who conducted the informal interview stating not to proceed with the disciplinary.
Thanks, I'm just trying to work out if you actually knew that a disciplinary was scheduled when you left? You were told about all these meetings but was the word disciplinary ever involved?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I was told that it was one possible outcome. They have now sent me a copy of a letter from them on 20th July 2012 stating that, following my informal interview on July 13th, they had set a date for a stage 3 disciplinary hearing on August 7th. I don't recall receiving this letter at the time but, if I'm honest, it was a long time ago and I can't be certain.
Thanks, ***** ***** it there were some more complex rules about the referencing options an employer has. let me pass this on to a colleague of mine who deals with employment, he won't be long hopefully
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Jo. Your help is genuinely appreciated.
No problem, hope you resolve this soon
Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. So as I understand it, it is possible that you were issued with this letter on 20 July?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben, yes, it is possible.
Thank you. 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 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. In your case, you were being investigated at the time you left and whilst you mention you were not given the right to be represented, this is not a right you have in an investigation – it only applies when you have to attend a formal disciplinary. So looking at the actual facts, there was an investigation into misconduct and you were invited to a disciplinary on 20 July (even though you do not remember) but left before that took place. So their reference is not incorrect from a factual point of view. This is what actually happened. So arguing that it is negligent will not necessarily be easy. Saying that you could still contact them to ask them to reconsider their position and provide a neutral reference, with just the dates of employment and your job title. Remind them that you did not have the opportunity to defend yourself and as such this should not affect your future employment opportunities, especially as this was a few years ago. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49816
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks Ben,I appreciate your speedy and detailed response. You and Jo have both been a big help. I have given you 5 stars.Thanks againGary
You are most welcome, all the best