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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 67986
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My wife resingned on Tuesday and wile working out her week

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My wife resingned on Tuesday and wile working out her week was asked to carry out a task that went over her shift time in which she declined, and caused an argument between her and a controller, my wife was still in probation , and thought I can’t work for these any more she had already secured a job with another company, the day after she gets a phone call from her future employers to say that her previous employer s had given her a bad ref and that they can’t take her on what advise would you give her
Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Not yet, the company will not talk to her
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: She was employed but was going to be contracting
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: She was still in probation at the time
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She did not belong to a union

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

How long has she worked there for?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She was 4 days short from her probation
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
6 months

Thank you. Was the new job conditional on satisfactory references?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It didn’t say she was poached by them to start but they are governed by QC as ambulance service, my wife wasn’t sacked or had any written or verbal warnings, the question was aske would you employ her again they gave the anger categorically no with no explanation

Thank you. Her rights will depend on whether the job offer was conditional on satisfactory references and if it was not, she can challenge the new employer on that basis. Her argument would be that the offer was unconditional and that once accepted, she would have had a legally binding contract in place which they would have been obliged to honour. Failure to do so, by retracting the job offer, would make them potentially act in breach of contract. Whilst she can consider taking it further, in general she is usually only likely to receive compensation up to the length of any notice period she would have been due on termination by them.

Alternatively, she can also consider challenging the current employer over the reference. If an employer decides to issue a reference, they will automatically owe the subject 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 true, accurate and fair and does not provide a misleading impression.

The main test is from the case of Lawton v BOC Transhield, which requires a court to ask whether a reasonably prudent employer would have expressed the opinions which were stated in that particular reference and to ensure the accuracy of the facts upon which any opinion expressed in the reference was based.

So if it is obvious that incorrect facts have been relied on or the contents are false or misleading, the employee could consider taking the matter further.

There are various options available for taking this further all of which would be pursued in the civil courts and would generally seek compensation:

{C}· Defamation – if the reference tends to lower the subject’s reputation in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally. However, such claims are rather complex and expensive and are not usually the best option

{C}· Malicious falsehood - if the reference contains untrue words that were published maliciously, so a situation where the employer knew the contents were untrue and published them anyway

{C}· Negligent misstatement – simple negligence where the employer has failed to do their homework and has included inaccurate facts without checking their validity first.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No I’m after advise on what her next steps should be

OK. But these would be based depending on who she will go after?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Would her case be concrete, I’m thinking cost of a solicitor or lawyer to help

No one can tell you if it will be concrete or not., I wouldn’t say there are very clear and strong grounds to claim here, they could have provided their own honest opinion that they would not employ her – after all they are entitled to make such a decision, even if it makes her look bad to others. Even if she did nothing wrong, they could still decide that they would not employ her in the future. So it is not a concrete claim as such, but it can still be challenged potentially. In terms of lawyer costs, it won’t be cheap, - several hundred as a minimum, but most likely in the low thousands and you won’t get these back from the other side so think carefully if you actually want to use a lawyer (you don’t have to, you can claim yourself).

Does this clarify things a bit more for you?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.

All the best

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