Hi there, sorry I was in court by the time you had replied. Just to clarify your last query – you have already paid for a written response, the offer you would have received subsequently was for a phone call, which is charged extra, but you are entirely free to just ignore that and continue in writing on here.
Going back to your query, whilst I agree that this is morally wrong, sadly from a legal point of view they have not really acted unlawfully, at least not to a degree that would allow him to take it any further.
The job he was offered would have been conditional on references so if he has failed to meet the required criteria on providing the necessary references, they can easily retract the offer and not proceed with it. Whilst he was asked to work in the meantime, as he is a contractor (and even if he was an employee with less than 2 years service), he would not be protected against unfair dismissal. So they can quite easily (and legally) terminate his employment by giving him any contractual notice he was due and they can always rely on the fact he had not met the conditions required for the job.
Therefore, unfortunately, he will not really have any legal rights in this situation and whilst I do agree he has not be treated right, this is all a moral argument, not a legal one.
I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the actual legal position. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service I have provided regardless of the contents of the answer, I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. Thank you