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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I used to work for a private clinic in Central London as

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I used to work for a private clinic in Central London as Senior Medical Aesthetician.
I have been given a 4 weeks notice letter from on the 16th August 2016 which terminated my employment following a conversation with the Managing Director during which I stated I was not happy with my employment.
I have applied for a new job which is also providing me with training. In order to forward my application a reference check has been done.
I today received an email from the recruitment team for my new job asking document regarding my dismissal from my previous job position.
This email states that my previous Managing Director during the reference check has said that I have been given a disciplinary action and that I have been dismissed from my job position.
Due to this unfortunate event, all of my efforts during my training and my new career risk to be jeopardised. I have already passed 9 online exams and only need to pass 1 face to face assessment to be licensed and start my business with an insurance company
I feel this to be defamation of character, damage and also causing earning loss as it is delaying my application.
Please advice.
Thank you

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

Have you contacted your previous employer about this at all?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not yet as I am not sure if I should

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. 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.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you must take to pursue 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

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. In the first instance you should contact the employer to try and resolve things with them and remind them of their obligations, asking for a new reference.

If you need to take this further and seek compensation then whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, 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 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 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your response Mr Jones.In my case I have never received any disciplinary action and been dismissed by my former employer. I also never had any meeting/investigation regarding my conduct or for any other reason that could lead to dismissal.
I have in fact been paid 4 weeks pay in lieu of notice.At the time of providing reference, the MD has prefered to give them over the phone instead of filling up the form provided by email.This morning, to my surprise, I received an email for the recruitment team stating that the MD has confirmed that disciplinary action was taken and that was dismissed from my position.Another fact is that although I had a permanent contract, I have been employed when, soon after, another practitioner was taking maternity leave and I have now been fired on the 16th August. On the 5th September the mentioned practitioner has came back from her maternity leave. This to me does not look a coincidence either.I would appreciate advice on how to take it further and if it is worthy to do so.Please find attachment of the notice letter I have been given and of the emails exchanged between me and the recruitment team.Thank you for your help.Lucia Motta

the fact that no disciplinary action was taken and they state it was can make the reference negligent and misleading. So as mentioned you need to contact them to advise them of that and ask for a new reference and f they fail to rectify this - pursue the steps mentioned above to try and get compensation for loss of earnings

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your advice.
I will follow the above steps and shall get in touch if need further advice.

best of luck

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Mr Jones,I will need some advice again.As per your previous advice I have emailed the MD asking for a reference rectification.
She has answered saying she felt sorry that my reference has been misconstructed as she felt pretty positive about me. That she has simply answered that she "had let me go" when asked if I have left on my own accord or if that was her decision.
I did forward this conversation to the recruitment team that has taken the reference, hoping it would clear the situation.The MD still hasn't provide any rectification as asked.Moreover, it seems now that the MD has put my reference in writing saying I have been dismissed as I was endangering clients!
I now received an email from the recruitment team saying that they will not be able to proceed with my application due to my reference unless the reason of my employment termination were fully disclosed.
They also recommend that I undertake a subject access request in order to obtain my personal records to provide full details of the termination and circumstances leading to this. ( I honestly am not sure what is the procedure to obtain this).This is just a very nasty action coming from a evil person for not real reason.Please advice as soon as possible. I am now in a situation in which I struggle to support myself and pay my rent as because of this person I am not able to get a job anytime soon.Kind regards,Lucia Motta

Hello, thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately your question has expired as you must post any follow up queries within 7 days of the date of the original question. If you need any further help on this subject please post it as a new question on our site - you may start it with 'for Ben Jones' so that I get it and deal with it as fast as I can, although I am in tribunal all day tomorrow so it may not be until later in the day. Many thanks