Many thanks for your patience. The main risk with resigning is that any benefits may be delayed by up to 26 weeks. That is because the Government does not usually like to pay benefits to people who have deliberately placed themselves out of a job. Of course, there are circumstances when you were forced to leave though no fault of your own but you would have to show that this was the case and convince them that you had valid grounds to leave without having your benefits affected. The whole process could still some weeks which means your benefits could be delayed, even if not for the full 26 weeks.
In terms of the reference, in general, there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for past employees, with the only exceptions being if there was a contractual obligation to do so or for very limited types of roles in the financial sector. It would also be discriminatory if a reference is refused because of someone’s age, gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation.
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 legal 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.
In the 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 a reasonable investigation and had grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place. Conversely, had they referred to the alleged misconduct but stated it had not been investigated, it would have been acceptable as that would have been a fair and accurate description.
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.
Does this answer your query?