Employment References

Employment References

An offer of employment will often be made subject to the receipt of a satisfactory reference from a former employer. Generally speaking, an employer is not obliged to provide a reference for an ex-employee although in practice most organisations will give a limited “factual” reference ie a short paragraph confirming dates of employment and job title. Some employers are willing to provide more information, for example regarding performance, disciplinary record, time-keeping and reason for leaving although there is no requirement to provide these details or for the reference to be comprehensive. However, if the employer does decide to give a reference and provide more than basic details, then it owes the employee a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the information provided is true, accurate and fair, and does not give a misleading impression.    

Disputes over References

Sometimes, when the employee has left a job under a cloud an employer may be accused of voicing its displeasure by giving an inaccurate reference which appears designed to cast aspersions and create difficulties for the employee in their new job.  Occasionally, a particularly bad reference can thwart the job search entirely and lead to offers of employment being withdrawn.  Depending on the circumstances, an employer’s actions can give rise to various claims including the following:  

  • Discrimination (including victimisation)
  • Breach of Contract
  • Defamation
  • Malicious Falsehood
  • Negligent Misstatement

Claims for Negligent Misstatement

Perhaps the easiest to prove and therefore the most common claim against an employer is that of Negligent Misstatement. Broadly speaking, it must be shown that the employer’s reference was false and given carelessly and led to the employee suffering financial loss.

Why choose OWC?

If you believe that a reference from a former employer is preventing you from finding new employment then we can help you resolve the issue, including persuading the employer to revise the reference and pay compensation.

Contact our Employment Law Solicitors in London, Surrey and Middlesex

For a free initial phone call to see if we can help you, please contact Jeremy Parkinson on 020 8890 2836, email jeremy.parkinson@owc.co.uk or you can contact us by filling out our online contact form.

Free Initial Phone Call

Your first phone call with us to talk through your employment matter is free of charge and confidential. Phone us now on 0208 890 2836 to discuss how we can help you. Alternatively, please complete our online contact form and we will call back at a time convenient for you.

Free Initial Meeting – Employment Tribunal Claims

Following an initial phone call, if you are considering bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal we may offer a free initial meeting to discuss your case in more detail, including the merits and value of the claim and funding options.

No Win No Fee

In certain cases we can offer a “no win no fee” type arrangement once we have assessed your claim.

Fixed Fee

Often we will be able to agree with you a fixed fee so that you know in advance exactly what our advice or representation will cost.

Key Contacts


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