Do you provide employer references when asked?

There is often concern when an employer is asked to provide a reference. Employers are not under any legal obligation to provide a reference. However, where one is provided, the obligation is to provide a reference that is accurate and fair. If an employee has a poor attendance record, this can be stated. If an employer would choose not to re-employ or had performance concerns, provided there is a reason for this, this can also be stated. Employers must ensure that the information given is accurate and fair.

Second, consistency is important – there should be a policy of what is provided and by whom to avoid issues where a particularly poor reference is provided out of the blue, for one particular employee which is contrary to the normal practice.

Generally, only senior management should be authorised to provide references and they should be aware of the policy.

Remember too that employees have a right, under data protection legislation, to receive a copy of any reference issued by an employer.

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