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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 68026
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Just enquiring on where I stand and if I should take legal

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Hi there, just enquiring on where I stand and if I should take legal action on my employer. I recently handed in my notice and have got a new job. My employer gave this new job a bad reference about me and everything said was no true. This ended up making my new job decrease my hours which means I am now missing out on money.
Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No I didn't want to go to a lawyer if I'm just being silly
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee and still currently employed with them for another 2 weeks. And no
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

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.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Ben, I am miriam and that is fine!

What did your former employer say in the reference and also, when did you actually leave?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I am currently working my notice which is 4 weeks and I have 2 weeks left to work. My last day is 10th December. I work in a day nursery.
The reference was over the phone and the questions had to be answered excellent, satisfactory or poor. All questions where answered poor. The questions where about communication with children, parents and staff members. Sickness, using initiative, team work. Also she made a comment saying I should not be working with children.
Everything she put I feel is not the truth.

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. 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.
thank you for your help!

All the best

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