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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73393
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My previous employer withheld a reference that prevented me

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JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: Hi,My previous employer withheld a reference that prevented me from moving on to the final stage of an interview for a job. What recourse do I have?
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No I have not
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am now doing supply teaching part-time through an agency
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I resigned from my previous position and left in December 2020 (complex history). I was advised by one agency they were having difficulty with getting a reference from a previous employer. I was shortlisted for a job in March and had the 1st round of interviews on April 19th, 2021. I was informed during the feedback, that one of the factors that made me unsuccessful in going through to the final round was they did not receive a reference from my previous headteacher.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Why did they withhold it? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
I don't know.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Cancel phone call request please
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
I repeat...cancel phone call

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. If you need to cancel the phone call request please contact customer services direct.

Going back to your query, in general, there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for ex-employees, unless it was a contractual obligation for them to do so or it is for a specific financial services jobs which perform ‘controlled functions’. It will also be discriminatory if a reference is refused because of a protected characteristic, which includes age, gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy.

Therefore, unless the refusal was due to a discriminatory reason or you worked in one of these excepted roles, which you don’t, there would have been no legal obligation on the ex-employer to issue you with a reference and even if you lost a job as a result, you will not be able to challenge them legally.

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for but it is the legal position and all I can tell you is what the law says. I do hope that it at least explains where you stand and I will be happy to clarify anything for you in relation to it. For now, thank you for using our service.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thank you

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best